A recent analysis of young children enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2004 has reportedly claimed that sugarsweetened beverage (SSB) consumption “was independently associated with alterations in lipid profiles, increased markers of inflammation, and increased waist circumference in children.” Ethan Kosova, et al., “The Relationships between Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Intake and Cardiometabolic Markers in Young Children,” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, February 2013. Analyzing data from 4,880 NHANES participants ages 3 to 11, the study relied on 24-hour dietary recall interviews to gauge SSB consumption in addition to examining the following cardiometabolic markers: (i) total cholesterol concentrations, (ii) high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, (iii) low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, (iv) triglyceride, (v) C-reactive protein (CRP), (vi) waist circumference, and (vii) body mass index percentile for age-sex.

According to the study, multivariate linear regression analyses evidently demonstrated that “SSB intake in children aged 3 to 11 years is positively associated with known cardiovascular disease factors.” In particular, the authors noted that SSB intake was independently associated with lower HDL cholesterol levels, increased waist circumference and increased CRP concentrations, a measure of systemic inflammation. “This is the first study to examine SSB intake in young children and its associations with cardiometabolic markers,” conclude the authors. “Although prospective studies are needed to confirm these results, our study adds to the mounting evidence now present across all age groups about the potential deleterious effects of SSB intake on cardiovascular and metabolic health.”