THURSDAY, Sept. 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Overall, heavy sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) intake is declining among adults and children, according to a study published online Sept. 24 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Kelsey A. Vercammen, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined national estimates for trends in heavy SSB intake (≥500 kcal/day) among children and adults in the United States between 2003 to 2004 and 2015 to 2016 using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Data were included for 21,783 children (aged 2 to 19 years) and 32,355 adults (aged ≥20 years).

The researchers found that the prevalence of heavy SSB intake decreased significantly among children (from 10.9 to 3.3 percent) and adults (from 12.7 to 9.1 percent) between 2003 to 2004 and 2015 to 2016. These decreases were seen across age groups, sex, family income status, and most races/ethnicities among children. Among adults, significant decreases were seen for those aged 20 to 39 years, for most races/ethnicities, and for those with higher income. For adults aged ≥60 years, there was a significant increase in heavy SSB intake; no significant change was seen for 40- to 59-year-olds and for non-Mexican Hispanic adults.

“The insights gleaned from our study can help reduce consumption even further,” Vercammen said in a statement. “Because the results zeroed in on several groups who showed no improvement or actually increased their intake, these can be used to better target interventions.”

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