Adolescents Drink More Sugar-Sweetened Beverages When They’re Available at Home
Catherine M. Gordon, MD, MSc reviewing
The association held regardless of the availability of these beverages in other settings.
Sugar-sweetened beverages represent the largest source of sugar in a U.S. adolescent’s diet. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend reducing added sugars to <10% of total daily caloric intake and limiting consumption of beverages with added sugars. (Dr. Kirby – this would be equivalent to about 50 grams of sugar which represents about 12 teaspoons of sugar from all sources. Some recommendations are for only 5-6 teaspoons of sugar from all sources. One soda pop contains 8 teaspoons of sugar).
Researchers studied the association between the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages at home and consumption of such beverages and whether this association varied with the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in or near school. The study was a secondary analysis of data from a cross-sectional, Internet-based survey of parent-adolescent (age, 12–17 years) dyads. Analyses were adjusted for a variety of characteristics (e.g., age, body-mass index, housing insecurity).
Among 1494 adolescents in the study, 67% consumed ≥1 sugar-sweetened beverage daily and 44% reported these beverages being available in the home often or always. Compared with no availability of these beverages at home, more frequent availability at home was associated with greater overall consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (odds ratio, 2.88 for rarely/sometimes available at home; OR, 5.62 for often/always available at home) (Dr. Kirby – this means twice as much pop drunk by those where it is generally available in the house.) These associations held regardless of availability in or near school.
COMMENT (by Dr. Gordon)
Surprisingly, the association between the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in the home and self-reported sugar-sweetened beverage consumption did not differ by availability in or near school. Public health efforts have sought to remove vending machines from schools to reduce access to soda and other sweetened beverages. However, the most important target appears to be the adolescent’s home. These findings are a reminder to advise our adolescent patients to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and to encourage them and their families not to provide these beverages at home.