September 25, 2012 2:36 am
This is one of the first high-quality randomized control trials to examine the link between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and their direct impact on weight and body mass index (BMI), as well as how a teen's home environment impacts sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in general.
Adolescents who received deliveries of non-caloric beverages for one year gained an average of four fewer pounds than their peers who continued to drink sugar-sweetened beverages. Within the two-year study, the one-year intervention also included motivational calls with parents, check-in visits with participants and written intervention messages to stop drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.
The 224 study participants were overweight or obese 9th or 10th graders who regularly drank sugary beverages. The study intervention was designed to reduce consumption of these beverages. Researchers used a novel method of intervention: delivering non-caloric beverages to participants' homes for participants and their families.
During the year-long intervention, the experimental group of adolescents—who virtually eliminated consumption of sugary beverages—gained four fewer pounds and had essentially no BMI increase compared to the control group, which continued to drink sugar-sweetened beverages regularly (although at reduced levels possibly due to local public health efforts). In addition, Hispanic adolescents showed the greatest benefit—gaining 14 fewer pounds than the control group. No other single food product has been shown to change body weight by this amount over a year simply through its reduction.
This study underscores the need for healthy choices to be more easily available to adolescents, as well as the need for more research into effective interventions among minority populations with particularly high obesity rates.
Published with permission from RISMedia.