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Research Updates | Obesity / Overweight

What are the effects of sweet drinks on Australian teenager’s teeth and weight?

19 / 02 / 18

This cross-sectional study of 3671 Australian adolescent school students (50% girls; mean age 13.2) was led by Sydney School of Public Health and funded by the NSW Ministry of Health. It examined the associations between intake of SSB (Sugar-Sweetened Beverages including diet drinks: soft drinks, diet soft drinks, flavoured water, fruit juice, sports drinks and energy drinks) with self-reported oral health impact (OHI: toothache and avoiding some foods due to oral problems) and weight status measured via anthropometry.

There were differences in association between drink types. Drinking more than or equal to one cup of diet soft drink (AOR 5.21), sports drink (AOR 3.6), flavoured water (AOR 3.07) or energy drinks (AOR 2.14) daily was consistently associated with higher odds of OHI compared to drinking less than one cup. Daily SSB intake was not consistently associated with weight status. The odds of overweight/obesity (AOR 1.27) and obesity (AOR 1.61) were higher for energy drinks, and odds of abdominal obesity were twice as high in teens who drank more than 1 cup a day of sports drinks compared to less than 1 cup daily.

Energy drinks were the most popular in this group. Newer drink types such as energy and sports drinks and flavoured water had greater impact than more traditional soft drinks and fruit juice.

Hardy LL, Bell J, Bauman A, Mihrshahi S. Association between adolescents’ consumption of total and different types of sugar-sweetened beverages with oral health impacts and weight status. Aust NZ J Public Health 2017 Nov