Sugar-sweetened beverages linked to abdominal obesity in China youngsters

By Lester Wan

- Last updated on GMT

The researchers suggested encouraging children to drink water, changing advertising and restricting access to SSBs in schools. ©GettyImages
The researchers suggested encouraging children to drink water, changing advertising and restricting access to SSBs in schools. ©GettyImages

Related tags Obesity

Chinese children who consume large amounts of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB) have a higher chance of having abdominal obesity, according to a new academic study.

The study was a national sample of children and adolescents in China. It was conducted to assess the link between SSB consumption and general obesity and hypertension in children and adolescents, though no firm connection was able to be found to these two conditions.

“The lack of a significant association between SSB and general obesity might be related to the low levels of SSB consumption of Chinese children and adolescents in the present study,” ​the paper explained.

Still, a 13.3% increase in risk for abdominal obesity was observed among those who consumed high servings of SSBs.

According to the report, in China, a quarter of children aged seven to 18 years were classified as overweight or obese in 2010. Chinese children have also experienced a significant increase in blood pressure in recent years.

Low-calorie options

The study also found that children who consumed large servings of SSBs were more likely to have more than two hours of screen time, reduced milk intake, and high consumption of meat and a high-energy diet.

Furthermore, according to the researchers, the results indicate that strategies to reduce the consumption of SSBs and related policies may be useful in preventing obesity among Chinese children and adolescents.

“Public health practitioners and parents should encourage children to consume calorie-free beverages, such as water, instead of SSBs to avoid an excessive waist circumference,”​ said the study in its recommendations.

Other suggestions included changing the advertising of SSBs and restricting access to them in schools.

The project was funded by the special research grant for non-profit public service of the Ministry of Health of China and the Guangdong Science and Technology Programme.

The researchers were from different universities in China.


Source: Nutrients, 2017.

“Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption and Risks of Obesity and Hypertension in Chinese Children and Adolescents: A National Cross-Sectional Analysis”

Authors: Zhao-Huan Gui, Ya-Jun Chen, JinJing, Yan-Na Zhu, et al​.


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