Persistent disparities over time in the distribution of sugar-sweetened beverage intake among children in the United States.Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 01 01; 109(1):79-89.AJ
Recent research suggests that sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption has been declining among US children aged 2-18 y. However, most studies focused on changes in mean intake, ignore high SSB consumers and do not examine intake among vulnerable groups and, including adolescents, low-income households, and several racial/ethnic minorities.
The aim was to estimate usual SSB intake from NHANES surveys from 2003-2004 to 2013-2014 to examine shifts at both the median and 90th percentile among US children, evaluating the extent to which intake disparities in total SSBs and subtypes have persisted.
Children 2-18 y from NHANES 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. SSBs were all non-diet beverages sweetened with sugars including revising all beverages to as consumed status and excluding soy and dairy based beverages. The NCI usual intake method was used to estimate usual intake from two 24-hour recalls. A 2-part correlated model accounted for nonconsumers. Quantile regression was then used to examine differences in SSB usual intakes at the 50th and 90th percentiles by race-ethnicity, and examine interactions indicating whether racial-ethnic disparities in intake were modified by income.
Despite considerable declines, children's SSB intake remains high, particularly among heavy consumers. Among adolescents, median SSB intake in 2013-2014 was on the order of 150-200 kcal/d, and heavy intake at the 90th percentile was on the order of 250-300 kcal/d. There were important disparities in intake that persisted over time. Although high household income was associated with lower SSB intake in non-Hispanic white (NHW) children, intakes of non-Hispanic black (NHB) and Mexican-American (MA) children from these households were similar to or higher than those from poor households. There were also large racial/ethnic differences in the types of SSBs consumed. The consumption of regular sodas by NHB children was somewhat lower than among MA and NHW children, whereas fruit drink intake was markedly higher.
Overall, these findings suggest that, despite recent declines, strategies are needed to further reduce SSB consumption, and particularly heavy intake, especially among NHB children where fruit drinks also are key source of SSBs.