News Releases & Statements
American Beverage Association Statement
In response to “Soft drink intake in relation to incident ischemic heart disease, stroke, and stroke subtypes in Japanese men and women: the Japan Public Health Centre-based study cohort I,” a paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the American Beverage Association issued the following statement:
"This study does nothing to educate people about the real causes of heart disease or heart health issues. It only shows what we already know to be among the risk factors for heart disease: ethnicity and age. There is nothing unique about soft drinks when it comes to heart disease, stroke or any other adverse health outcomes."
Additional Background Information:
On the Study:
- The authors themselves note that they look at association, which is not the same as proving cause and effect.
- According to the World Heart Federation, people with African or Asian ancestry are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than other racial groups. Yet the authors looked at an exclusively Asian population (http://www.world-heart- federation.org/cardiovascular-health/cardiovascular-disease-risk-factors/; accessed October 30, 2012).
- This is an 18-year follow-up study of adults ages 40 to 59. During the course of this study, some of these subjects likely reached ages that put them at increased risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health notes that one of the risk factors for heart disease and stroke is being 55 years and older for men and 65 years or older for women (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/hbp/hdrf.htm; accessed October 30, 2012). Furthermore, the World Heart Federation notes that “risk of stroke doubles every decade after age 55” (http://www.world-heart-federation.org/cardiovascular-health/cardiovascular-disease- risk-factors/; accessed October 30, 2012).
- The authors used a self-reported food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). This FFQ was inconsistent in several ways. At baseline it included 44 items, but then increased to 147 items in the 1995 and 2000 follow-ups. Furthermore, the baseline FFQ assessed food intake over the preceding month, whereas the follow-up FFQs assessed food intake over the previous year.
- Importantly, the authors note several limitations of their study, including “the inability to compare the differential effects of soft drink components such as cola-type beverages” because they did not have data on “the consumption of each subgroup of soft drink.” They state, “the possibility of residual confounding may still have been present.” They also note that real intake of soft drinks may have been affected.
- In addition, data regarding current illnesses was self-reported at baseline.
On Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Stroke:
- According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, heart disease and stroke risk factors that can be controlled are high blood pressure or hypertension; abnormal blood cholesterol levels; tobacco use; diabetes; overweight; and physical inactivity. Risk factors beyond our control include age, that is being 55 years and older for men and 65 years or older for women; family history of early heart disease; or family history of stroke. (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/hbp/hdrf.htm; accessed October 30, 2012)
On Cardiovascular Disease:
- Heart disease is a complex problem with no single cause and no simple solution. •According to the American Heart Association, the major risk factors for heart disease are increasing age, gender (being male), genetics (including race), smoking and being overweight or obese (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/Coronary -Artery-Disease---The-ABCs-of-CAD_UCM_436416_Article.jsp; accessed October 30, 2012).
- While many risk factors are beyond our control, there are things we can do - including not smoking, maintaining an appropriate body weight and being physically fit - to help mitigate risk for heart disease.
- If we truly want to reduce the incidence of heart disease, health professionals as well as other stakeholders must educate Americans about the risk factors and encourage people not to smoke (or not to start smoking) and maintain a healthy weight by balancing calories consumed – which includes eating a sensible, balanced diet - with calories burned.
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.