Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake among U.S. adults is associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. An association between SSB intake and asthma has been shown among U.S. children and Australian adults, but scant published information exists for U.S. adults. We examined associations between SSB intake and current asthma among U.S. adults, and the role of obesity in this association.
We analyzed 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data for 146,990 adults (≥18years) from 23 states and the District of Columbia. We used multivariable logistic regression to estimate associations between current asthma and frequency (none, <1 time/day, once/day, ≥2 times/day) of SSB intake (soda, fruit drink, sweet tea, and sports/energy drink). SSB intake was measured using two questions. Covariates included age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, and smoking. Obesity, based on self-reported height and weight, was assessed as an effect modifier.
Overall, 9.1% of adults reported current asthma: 8.5% of adults who did not consume SSBs had current asthma vs 12.1% of adults who consumed SSBs ≥2 times/day. There was no difference in asthma prevalence with SSB intake <1 time/day (8.7%) or once/day (8.7%). Among non-obese adults, the odds of having current asthma were higher among those who consumed SSBs ≥2 times/day (aOR=1.66, 95%CI=1.39, 1.99) than non-SSB consumers. However, SSB intake frequency was not associated with asthma among obese adults.
Frequent SSB consumption was associated with asthma among non-obese adults. Research on asthma prevention should further consider the potential adverse effects of high SSB intake among U.S. adults.