News Releases & Statements
American Beverage Association Responds to Unpublished Research on Beverages and Obesity
In response to research, “Predictors for persistent overweight, deteriorated weight, and improved weight status during 18 months in a school-based longitudinal cohort,” presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, the American Beverage Association issued the following statement:
“This is yet another example of science by press release. This research has not been published in a scientific or academic journal, nor even accepted for publication or peer-reviewed. Promoting its findings is not only premature, but irresponsible.
What we do know about this research is that it supports the important role that schools and families play in educating students about the importance of leading balanced, active and healthy lifestyles. Since 2006, our industry has been helping America’s schoolchildren do just that with our national School Beverage Guidelines, which removed full-calorie soft drinks from all schools and replaced them with more lower-calorie, smaller-portion choices. Our efforts have driven a 90 percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools between 2004 and the end of the 2009-2010 school year according to independent research actually published in the American Journal of Public Health.”
Additional Background Information:
On the Study:
- This research fails to be nationally representative. In fact, it looked at approximately 5,300 students in grades 4 through 12 in 10 schools in 14 counties in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky – three states with some of the highest obesity rates in the nation according to CDC.
- Importantly, the authors also used nutrition recall by the students, which is unreliable.
- Furthermore, it is not clear which covariates, if any, were controlled for in this study. To draw any conclusion about soda intake, which in this case is a caloric contributor, total energy intake should’ve been measured. Yet it appears it was only corrected for age, ethnicity and gender. This is reckless behavior for a “study” concluding that soda intake needs to be reduced or eliminated.
- Several additional things are unclear – how soda intake was measured, the total amount consumed, and if that amount included diet soda. In fact, if diet soda was included, then the findings are unreliable.
- Lastly, contrary to the author’s assertions, this research does not support portion bans as a means to reduce obesity – other than through opinion.
On Sugar-Sweetened Beverages:
- Calories from sugar-sweetened beverages—including soft drinks, juice drinks, flavored waters and other beverages—make up only 7 percent of the calories in the average American diet according to a National Cancer Institute analysis of government data. That means that 93 percent of the calories in the American diet come from other sources.
- The fact remains that obesity is primarily caused by an imbalance between calories consumed from all foods and beverages and those burned.
On Industry’s Efforts to be Part of Meaningful Solutions:
- We’re providing more beverage options than ever before, with a wide array of calorie and portion size options. According to Beverage Marketing Corporation data, the average number of calories per beverage serving is down 23 percent since 1998, and about 45 percent of all non-alcoholic beverages purchased today have zero calories.
- By working with President Clinton on national School Beverage Guidelines, we’ve removed full-calorie soft drinks from all K-12 schools and replaced them with more lower-calorie, smaller-portion choices in age-appropriate portion sizes, driving a 90 percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools since 2004.
- We’re supporting First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move!’ campaign with our Clear on Calories initiative to display clear calorie information on the front of every bottle, can and pack we produce.
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The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States. For more information on ABA, please visit the association’s Web site at www.ameribev.org or call the ABA communications team at (202) 463-6770.