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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Intake of added sugars is not associated with weight measures in children 6 to 18 years: National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2003-2006

Authors
item Nicklas, Theresa -
item O'Neil, Carol -
item Liu, Yan -

Submitted to: Nutrition Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 23, 2011
Publication Date: May 1, 2011
Citation: Nicklas, T.A., O'Neil, C.E., Liu, Y. 2011. Intake of added sugars is not associated with weight measures in children 6 to 18 years: National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2003-2006. Nutrition Research. 31(5):338-346.

Interpretive Summary: Studies examining an association between consumption of added sugars (AS) and weight measures in children are inconclusive. This study examined the association between intake of AS and 5 measures of weight or adiposity using a nationally recent representative sample of children. No significant associations were observed between intake of AS and weight or adiposity measures. Consumption of AS did not contribute significantly to BMI Z scores in children 6 to 18 years, and the percent variance explained was very small. Longitudinal studies using more robust and precise measures of dietary intake are needed to further investigate the role of AS and weight in children.

Technical Abstract: Studies examining an association between consumption of added sugars (AS) and weight measures in children are inconclusive. This study examined the association between intake of AS and 5 measures of weight or adiposity using a nationally recent representative sample of children. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2003-2006 24-hour recall data from children 6 to 18 years (n = 3136) were used. United States Department of Agriculture's definition of AS and MyPyramid Equivalents Database were used to estimate daily intake. Multiple linear regression and squared partial correlation coefficients were used to estimate the strength of association between weight, body mass index (BMI), BMI Z scores, waist circumference, and triceps and subscapular skinfolds as dependent variables with AS as the independent variable. Covariates were age, sex, race/ethnicity, poverty income ratio, total energy intake (kJ), and physical activity. Mean intake of AS was 23 +/- 0.55 teaspoons (tsp) (21 tsp for 6-11 years and 25 tsp for 12-18 years) accounting for 17% of total energy intake for both groups. The percent variance explained in BMI Z scores was 3.9% in children 6 to 11 years, with AS contributing only 0.03%. In children 12 to 18 years, the percent variance explained in the BMI Z scores was 6.5% with 0.18% coming from AS. No significant associations were observed between intake of AS and weight or adiposity measures. Consumption of AS did not contribute significantly to BMI Z scores in children 6 to 18 years. Longitudinal studies using more robust and precise measures of dietary intake are needed to further investigate the role of AS and weight in children.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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