Sugary Drink Consumption
Data on sugary drink consumption unanimously point in one direction: Americans of all ages drink excessive amounts of sugary beverages. Data show that soda and other sugary beverage consumption has more than doubled over the past thirty years to an all-time high of 7% of daily calories, making it the single largest contributor to daily caloric intake in the United States.1, 2
An analysis of national data from 2002 showed that a whopping 60% of those surveyed were consuming sugary drinks.3 In 2004, there were enough sugary beverages produced for every man, woman and child to drink twenty ounces every day.4 Today, there are 664 products, sixty-one brands, and annual sales of approximately twenty-nine billion dollars.5
In a recent (2010) study, it was found that children's median intake is two sodas per week, with a mean of six per week. This means that there are a small number of children drinking a much greater-than-average amount.6NHANES data from 2008 indicated that 12.5% of American children drink diet sodas on any given day, up from 6.5% in 1998.
As campaigns to reduce sugary drink marketing and consumption gain momentum around the country, Americans are learning more about the sugar content and harmful effects of sugary drinks, they are consuming fewer of them. Since 2008, sugary drink consumption has decreased 23% from its peak in 1998.7 However, data from 2007-2008 show that sugary drinks continue to contribute 7% of total daily calories,8 a significant amount of empty calories in our diet.
All around the country, the statistics are alarming:
- In California, 62% of adolescents (tweleve to seventeen years old), 41% of children (two to eleven years old), and 24% of adults drink one or more sodas per day. 9
- In Philadelphia, a survey found that nearly half (49%) of the children surveyed drank two or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day.10
- In New York State, data show that 34% of children between two to seventeen years old consume at least one soda (excluding diet soda) or other sugar-sweetened beverage a day, including iced tea, sports drinks or fruit punch drinks.11
According to national NHANES data from 2008, American adults (age 20 and older) reported drinking significantly more full-calorie (regular) soda than diet soda.
- Men: 19% reported drinking diet soft drinks compared to 53% who reported drinking regular soft drinks
- Women: 23% reported drinking diet soft drinks compared to 41% who reported drinking regular soft drinks.
For more information on sugary drink consumption, see Barry Popkin's article published in 2010 in Phyisology and Behavior called "Patterns of beverage use across the lifecycle."
1. Popkin BM. Patterns of beverage use across the lifecycle. Physiology & Behavior. 2010;100:4–9.
2. Block, G. Foods contributing to energy intake in the US: data from NHANES III and NHANES 1999-2000. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 2004;17:439-447.
3. Duffey KJ, Popkin BM. Shifts in Patterns and Consumption of Beverages between 1965 and 2002. Obesity. 2007;15:2739-2747.
4. Jacobson MF. Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks are Harming American’s Health. Center for Science in the Public Interest. Second Edition, First Printing: June 2005. Washington D.C.
5. Harris JL, et al. Sugary Drink FACTS: Evaluating Sugary Drink Nutrition and Marketing to Youth. Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, October, 2011.
6. Strum R, Powell LM, Chriqui JF, Chaloupka FJ. Soda Taxes, Soft Drink Consumption and Children’s Body Mass Index. Health Affairs. 2010;5:1052-1058.
7. Calculations by Center for Science in the Public Interest. Accessed January 3, 2012 from: http://www.cspinet.org/liquidcandy/whytax.html.
8. Welsh JA, Sharma AJ, Grellinger L, Vos MB. Consumption of added sugars is decreasing in the United States. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2011;94:726–34.
9. Babey SH, Jones M, Yu H, Goldstein H. Bubbling Over: Soda Consumption and Its Link to Obesity in California. UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and California Center for Public Health Advocacy. Sept 2009.
10. Jordan A et al. Results from the Annenberg Philadelphia Healthy Lifestyles Initiative (PHLI) Survey. Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. August 2010.
11. New York State Department of Health - Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention. Information for Action # 2011- 6. Release Date: 4/21/2011.