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Of 18 states surveyed, Mississippi had highest rate with 32 percent of adults downing a daily soda

By E.J. Mundell

HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A new survey of American adults across 18 states finds 17 percent drinking at least one sugary soda per day, with rates varying widely across states.

For example, while about 12 percent of people in New York state or Hawaii downed one or more non-diet sodas each day, that number jumped to 30 and 32 percent in Tennessee and Mississippi, respectively.

The report, from researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found high levels of sweetened fruit drink consumption, with close to 12 percent of adults downing at least one serving daily.

All of this is adding to increased caloric intake and widening waistlines, experts say.

"I think most people still don't realize just how much sugar is found in these sugar-sweetened beverages," said Dana Angelo White, a registered dietitian who is a clinical assistant professor of athletic training and sports medicine at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.

"I often do a demonstration and physically show people what 10 to 20 teaspoons of sugar looks like -- it's very powerful," she said. "There's also a disconnect on the downsides of all that sugar -- so bad for teeth, blood sugar and waistlines -- the extra calories really pile up quickly."

The CDC research team, led by Dr. Gayathri Kumar of the agency's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, agreed.

"Regular soda and fruit drinks contain added sugars and are sources of calories but have few, if any, essential nutrients," they wrote in the Aug. 15 issue of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

But where is soda and fruit drink consumption the highest? To find out, the researchers looked at 2012 data from a major U.S. government health survey. The data concentrated on more than 113,000 adult residents in 18 states across the United States.

Besides pinpointing which states had the highest and lowest rates of sugary drinks consumption, the study revealed other patterns. Frequent soda and fruit-drink consumers were typically younger and male blacks or Hispanics.

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