Study reports nearly 1 in 3 California kids have a sugary drink daily

April 19, 2018, University of California, Los Angeles
In 2009, just 26 percent of children had one more sugary drinks per day; in 2014, that figure had increased to 31 percent. Credit: iStock.com/Sasiistock

Nearly one-third of California children between the ages of 2 and 11 drink one or more sugary drinks per day, according to a UCLA study published today.

That percentage represents an alarming increase since 2009, when just over one-quarter of the state's had one or more per day.

Conducted by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and funded by The California Endowment, the research analyzed California Health Interview Survey data on among California children from 2003 to 2014. Sugary drinks include soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and tea and juice drinks with added sugar but do not include diet beverages or 100 percent juice.

"The numbers we observed are especially troubling because they show that the reductions in consumption observed in the past are reversing," said Dr. Susan Babey, lead author of the study and co-director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research's Chronic Disease Program.

Between 2003 and 2009, the proportion of children consuming at least one sugary drink per day decreased from 49 percent to 26 percent. However, since 2009, the percentage has risen to 31 percent. Research confirms that one sugary drink a day can increase people's risk for Type 2 diabetes, liver disease, dental decay and obesity.

The study's authors join American Medical Association, the American Heart Association and other national organizations, in recommending lower consumption of sugary drinks among children as a way to improve and reduce risk for chronic disease.

The researchers found disparities in sugary drink consumption rates from region to region within the state. Nearly 40 percent of young children in San Bernardino County had at least one sugary drink per day, compared to less than 30 percent in the more affluent San Diego County.

"This study shows that children are still drinking too much sugar. In order to keep our kids healthy and our chronic disease rates and costs from skyrocketing, we need to reverse this trend," said Flojaune Cofer, state policy director at Public Health Advocates, a California-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing policy solutions to emerging health issues. "The problem is especially severe among low-income communities, heightening the need for local and state policymakers to redouble efforts to protect these communities."

According to previous research by Babey, one in three young adults in California already have prediabetes, a precursor to life-threatening Type 2 diabetes.

Research suggests sugary drink consumption is influenced by social and environmental factors such as the food environment and aggressive beverage marketing. The increased consumption among California children suggests the need for greater policy and education efforts, Cofer said.

"Our kids don't need to be anything with added sugar," she said. "That's why continued pressure and advocacy for standard drink options without sugar, along with accurate labeling and advertising, are important for creating a healthy environment for our children. We can work together to ensure our kids can live healthy and vibrant lives."

Robert Ross, president and CEO of The California Endowment, said, "The of sugar-sweetened beverages poses a serious threat to the health of children. Type 2 diabetes is preventable, so it's important for children to have access to healthy alternatives to junk drinks, like water and flavored, unsweetened sparkling water."

Explore further: After tax, Philadelphians 40 percent less likely to drink soda every day

Related Stories

After tax, Philadelphians 40 percent less likely to drink soda every day

April 12, 2018
Almost immediately after the "soda tax" went into place, Philadelphians were 40 percent less likely to drink soda every day, a new Drexel University study found.

Drinking sugary drinks may be associated with greater risk of death

March 21, 2018
Adults over the age of 45 who consume large amounts of sugary beverages including soft drinks, fruit drinks and fruit juices may have a higher risk of dying from heart disease or other causes, compared to those who drink ...

Taxing sugary drinks a no-brainer for New Zealand

April 4, 2018
On 1 April 2018, the United Kingdom introduced a sugary drinks tax, an important public health measure that University of Otago, Wellington, public health researchers believe should be happening in New Zealand too.

New study finds spike in sugary drink consumption among California adolescents

October 18, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—While consumption of soda and other sugary drinks among young children in California is starting to decline, a new study released today shows an alarming 8 percent spike among adolescents, the biggest consumers ...

Kids' sugary drink habits start early

January 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—Despite health messages to limit sodas and other sugary beverages, most American children drink them often, new government statistics show.

Cut out sugary drinks to prevent type 2 diabetes, study finds

July 7, 2017
An international study led by ANU has bolstered the global campaign for a sugar tax, finding thousands of cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented every year in Thailand if people stopped drinking sugary drinks every day.

Recommended for you

Healthy diet linked to healthy cellular aging in women

August 20, 2018
Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in added sugar, sodium and processed meats could help promote healthy cellular aging in women, according to a new study published in the American Journal ...

Your office may be affecting your health

August 20, 2018
Workers in open office seating had less daytime stress and greater daytime activity levels compared to workers in private offices and cubicles, according to new research led by the University of Arizona.

Sitting for long hours found to reduce blood flow to the brain

August 20, 2018
A team of researchers with Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K. has found evidence of reduced blood flow to the brain in people who sit for long periods of time. In their paper published in the Journal of Applied ...

Balanced advice needed to address 'screen time' for children, study shows

August 20, 2018
Parents, health professionals and educators need clear and balanced information to help manage young children's use of mobile touch-screen devices in Australia, new research by Curtin University has found.

Students more likely to eat school breakfast when given extra time, new study finds

August 18, 2018
Primary school students are more likely to eat a nutritional breakfast when given 10 extra minutes to do so, according to a new study by researchers at Virginia Tech and Georgia Southern University.

Like shark attack and the lottery, unconscious bias influences cancer screening

August 17, 2018
What do shark attack, the lottery and ovarian cancer screening having in common? It turns out our judgments about these things are all influenced by unconscious bias.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.