MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sohyun Park, PhD,
Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, GA 30341
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Park: Nearly 1 out of 3 U.S. adults (30.5%) consumed sugar-sweetened beverages at least 1 time per day; 20% consumed sugar-sweetened beverages at least 2 times per day. About 8 out of 10 adults agreed that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can contribute to weight gain. However, 8 of 10 adults also did not know the actual calorie content of a 24-oz fountain soda. After controlling for sociodemographic factors, adults who were neutral (neither agreed nor disagreed) that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can contribute to weight gain were more than 1-and-a-half times more likely to consume sugar-sweetened beverages at least 2 times per day. Conversely, knowledge about the calorie content of a 24-oz fountain soda was not associated with sugar-sweetened beverage intake.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Park: We hypothesized that correct knowledge about the calorie content of a 24-oz fountain soda would be associated with a lower sugar-sweetened beverage intake. However, unlike our hypothesis, knowledge about the calorie content of regular soda was not significantly associated with consuming sugar-sweetened beverage at least 2 times daily among U.S. adults after controlling for sociodemographic factors.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Park: Knowledge about the adverse effects of sugar-sweetened beverage intake is significantly associated with sugar-sweetened beverage intake among U.S. adults. Thus, clinicians should consider counseling their patients about the potential contribution of excess energy intake from sugar-sweetened beverages to weight gain, as this counseling could potentially contribute to lowered intake and lower prevalence of obesity.
Also, while knowledge about the calorie content of a 24-oz fountain soda was not associated with sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, health education on the calorie content of sugar-sweetened beverages may still be valuable because most adults did not know the actual calorie content of sugar-sweetened beverages.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Park: The associations from our study are one point in time (cross-sectional), so studies that follow the same individuals over time (longitudinal) are needed to explore whether changes in knowledge about sugar-sweetened beverage calorie content modify sugar-sweetened beverage intake and to further explore what other knowledge might be associated with sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.