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Sugary Drink Habit Is Widespread in U.S.

Survey Shows Teens and Young Adults Drink the Most Sugary Drinks
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Sugary Drink Intake: The Numbers continued...

Low-income people take in more calories from sugary drinks as a percentage of daily calories than those with higher income. Non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American adults have a higher percentage of calories from sugary drinks than do white adults. One surprise, Ogden says, is that ''over half, 52%, of sugar drinks are consumed at home." She thought people would be more likely to drink them at restaurants.

She is not certain whether the intake of sugary drinks has declined since the 2010 guidelines were issued. There is new data from 2009 and 2010, she says, but it has not yet been evaluated.

Beverage Industry Reaction

Sugar-sweetened drinks ''are not driving health issues like obesity and diabetes," according to a statement issued in response to the report by Chris Gindlesperger of the American Beverage Association, an industry group.

The group points to a July 2011 study published in the American Journal of ClinicalNutrition. It showed that Americans took in nearly a quarter less added sugars in 2008 compared to 1999. That decline, according to the study, was mostly the result of people drinking less soda.

The new report did not look at these trends, but only at a snapshot in time, according to Ogden. There is not an identical NCHS report of sugared beverage intake on a given day from 2001 to 2004.

The statement by the industry group also says: "Moreover, the total number of calories from beverages that our member companies have brought to market decreased by 21 percent from 1998 to 2008, according to Beverage Marketing Corporation data."

This is due, the group says, to bringing more no-calorie and low-calorie options to market.

"Balancing calories from all foods and beverages with those burned through physical activity and exercise is essential to maintaining a balanced, active and healthy lifestyle," the group says.

Campaign to Reduce Sugar Drink Intake

A new campaign to help lovers of sugar drinks reduce their habit is being launched today by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

It is called "Life's Sweeter with Fewer Sugary Drinks."  It will include city public health departments and organizations such as the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association, says Jeff Cronin, a spokesman.

The goal, he says, is to decrease intake of soda and sugary drinks down to the American Heart Association recommendation of fewer than three cans per person per week.

Among the cities signing on, he says, are Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Some cities already have launched programs.

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