Studies Show Soft Drink Consumption by School-Aged Children Is Not Linked to Obesity, Poor Diet Quality or Lack of Exercise

Apr 03, 2001, 01:00 ET from The Georgetown Food and Nutrition Policy Center

    ORLANDO, Fla., April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Four new studies by nutrition
 researchers from the Georgetown Center for Food and Nutrition Policy
 (http://www.ceresnet.org ) presented today at the Experimental Biology 01
 annual meeting demonstrate that soft drink consumption by children is not
 linked to pediatric obesity, poor diet quality, or a lack of exercise.  The
 studies were based on analyses of data from two national surveys:  the
 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), conducted by
 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of
 Agriculture's Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals (CSFII).
     "Our results provide important information on a controversial and often
 misunderstood subject.  These studies provide new insights into what role soft
 drinks are playing in children's lifestyles.  At the end of the day, one must
 conclude that all the 'hype' about soft drink consumption and obesity is
 simply not supported by the data when measured by several of the most
 important nutritional parameters such as body mass index (BMI), exercise, and
 calcium intake," said Maureen Storey, Ph.D., Associate Director at the
 Georgetown Center for Food and Nutrition Policy, and leader of the research
 team that performed the analyses.
     Dr. Storey continued, "First, a thorough review of the data on 12- to 16-
 year-olds shows no relationship between the consumption of regular carbonated
 soft drinks and BMI, a measurement for obesity.  Soft drink consumption is not
 linked to adolescent obesity, challenging many misconceptions.  In addition,
 our study confirms the importance of social exercise programs and team sports
 in the prevention of obesity in teenage girls.  As educators, we need to
 stress the vital role of physical activity for all students, not just the best
 athletes chosen for the varsity sports teams.
     "Second, our data demonstrate that that soft drink consumption is not
 displacing calcium in the diets of children.  According to our analysis of the
 CSFII database, there is, in fact, a statistically significant, very small but
 positive association between soft drinks and calcium consumption.  In other
 words, 2- to 20-year-olds who drink carbonated soft drinks consumed slightly
 more calcium than similar aged kids who did not drink carbonated soft drinks.
 Nevertheless, whether it's our kids today or 25 years ago, they are not
 consuming enough calcium from foods and beverages.  We need to emphasize ways
 to boost calcium intake from low-fat milk, fortified beverages, high-calcium
 foods, or a supplement.  It is wrong, however, to suggest that soft drink
 consumption has reduced calcium intake.
     "Third, our study illustrates that regular carbonated soft drinks are not
 linked to the overall quality of an individual's diet, according to the U.S.
 Department of Agriculture's Healthy Eating Index (HEI), the measure USDA uses
 to assess overall diet quality.
     "Fourth, we examined the association between carbonated soft drink
 consumption and exercise levels.  Our results show that teens who consume
 carbonated beverages are as active or more active than those who do not drink
 carbonated beverages.  Indeed, teen-age boys who consume more carbonated
 beverages exercise more.  Older teens were less physically active than younger
 children.  African-American and Hispanic teens were less active than
 Caucasians."
     All data produced by the Georgetown study meet the rigorous scientific
 standards for evaluation, established by the scientific community.  Research
 projects are conducted in accordance with the policies of Georgetown
 University and the Center's Statement of Principles.  The Center promotes
 objectivity in its research and related activities through specific measures
 aimed at ensuring that the design, conduct, and reporting of its research is
 not biased by a conflicting financial interest(s), including financial
 disclosure.  These policies are similar to those of all public and private
 universities engaged in research.
     The Georgetown Food and Nutrition Policy Center's work was supported by an
 unrestricted research grant from the National Soft Drink Association.
 
     The Center for Food and Nutrition Policy (the "Center") is a Washington,
 D.C.-based research and educational institution dedicated to advancing
 rational, science-based food and nutrition policy.  It is a financially
 independent center associated with Georgetown University.  Through its
 programs of research, outreach, and teaching, the Center examines complex, and
 oftentimes contentious, issues facing government policymakers, regulators,
 agribusinesses, and food manufacturers.
 
 

SOURCE The Georgetown Food and Nutrition Policy Center
    ORLANDO, Fla., April 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Four new studies by nutrition
 researchers from the Georgetown Center for Food and Nutrition Policy
 (http://www.ceresnet.org ) presented today at the Experimental Biology 01
 annual meeting demonstrate that soft drink consumption by children is not
 linked to pediatric obesity, poor diet quality, or a lack of exercise.  The
 studies were based on analyses of data from two national surveys:  the
 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), conducted by
 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of
 Agriculture's Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals (CSFII).
     "Our results provide important information on a controversial and often
 misunderstood subject.  These studies provide new insights into what role soft
 drinks are playing in children's lifestyles.  At the end of the day, one must
 conclude that all the 'hype' about soft drink consumption and obesity is
 simply not supported by the data when measured by several of the most
 important nutritional parameters such as body mass index (BMI), exercise, and
 calcium intake," said Maureen Storey, Ph.D., Associate Director at the
 Georgetown Center for Food and Nutrition Policy, and leader of the research
 team that performed the analyses.
     Dr. Storey continued, "First, a thorough review of the data on 12- to 16-
 year-olds shows no relationship between the consumption of regular carbonated
 soft drinks and BMI, a measurement for obesity.  Soft drink consumption is not
 linked to adolescent obesity, challenging many misconceptions.  In addition,
 our study confirms the importance of social exercise programs and team sports
 in the prevention of obesity in teenage girls.  As educators, we need to
 stress the vital role of physical activity for all students, not just the best
 athletes chosen for the varsity sports teams.
     "Second, our data demonstrate that that soft drink consumption is not
 displacing calcium in the diets of children.  According to our analysis of the
 CSFII database, there is, in fact, a statistically significant, very small but
 positive association between soft drinks and calcium consumption.  In other
 words, 2- to 20-year-olds who drink carbonated soft drinks consumed slightly
 more calcium than similar aged kids who did not drink carbonated soft drinks.
 Nevertheless, whether it's our kids today or 25 years ago, they are not
 consuming enough calcium from foods and beverages.  We need to emphasize ways
 to boost calcium intake from low-fat milk, fortified beverages, high-calcium
 foods, or a supplement.  It is wrong, however, to suggest that soft drink
 consumption has reduced calcium intake.
     "Third, our study illustrates that regular carbonated soft drinks are not
 linked to the overall quality of an individual's diet, according to the U.S.
 Department of Agriculture's Healthy Eating Index (HEI), the measure USDA uses
 to assess overall diet quality.
     "Fourth, we examined the association between carbonated soft drink
 consumption and exercise levels.  Our results show that teens who consume
 carbonated beverages are as active or more active than those who do not drink
 carbonated beverages.  Indeed, teen-age boys who consume more carbonated
 beverages exercise more.  Older teens were less physically active than younger
 children.  African-American and Hispanic teens were less active than
 Caucasians."
     All data produced by the Georgetown study meet the rigorous scientific
 standards for evaluation, established by the scientific community.  Research
 projects are conducted in accordance with the policies of Georgetown
 University and the Center's Statement of Principles.  The Center promotes
 objectivity in its research and related activities through specific measures
 aimed at ensuring that the design, conduct, and reporting of its research is
 not biased by a conflicting financial interest(s), including financial
 disclosure.  These policies are similar to those of all public and private
 universities engaged in research.
     The Georgetown Food and Nutrition Policy Center's work was supported by an
 unrestricted research grant from the National Soft Drink Association.
 
     The Center for Food and Nutrition Policy (the "Center") is a Washington,
 D.C.-based research and educational institution dedicated to advancing
 rational, science-based food and nutrition policy.  It is a financially
 independent center associated with Georgetown University.  Through its
 programs of research, outreach, and teaching, the Center examines complex, and
 oftentimes contentious, issues facing government policymakers, regulators,
 agribusinesses, and food manufacturers.
 
 SOURCE  The Georgetown Food and Nutrition Policy Center