Increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among US adults: 1988-1994 to 1999-2004

Sara N. Bleich, Y. Claire Wang, Youfa Wang, Steven L. Gortmaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

253 Scopus citations


Background: Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) has been linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Objective: We examined national trends in SSB consumption among US adults by sociodemographic characteristics, body weight status, and weight-loss intention. Design: We analyzed 24-h dietary recall data to estimate beverage consumption among adults (aged ≥20 y) obtained from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988-1994; n = 15979) and NHANES 1999-2004 (n = 13431). Results: From 1988-1994 to 1999-2004 on the survey day, the percentage of adult SSB drinkers increased from 58% to 63% (P < 0.001), per capita consumption of SSB increased by 46 kcal/d (P = 0.001), and daily SSB consumption among drinkers increased by 6 oz (P < 0.001). In both survey periods, per capita SSB consumption was highest among young adults (231-289 kcal/d) and lowest among the elderly (68-83 kcal/d). Young blacks had the highest percentage of SSB drinkers and the highest per capita consumption compared with white and Mexican American adults (P < 0.05). Overweight-obese adults with weight-loss intention (compared with those without) were significantly less likely to drink SSB, but they still consumed a considerable amount in 1999-2004 (278 kcal/d). Among young adults, 20% of SSB calories were consumed at work. Conclusions: Over the past decade, US adult SSB consumption has increased. SSB comprises a considerable source of total daily intake and is the largest source of beverage calories. SSB consumption is highest among subgroups also at greatest risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)372-381
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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