Although in Minnesota we’re less likely than the residents of most states to guzzle down sugar-sweetened soda and other beverages daily, almost a quarter of us continue to consume at least one such drink daily, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Nationally, 30.1 percent of adults in the United States drink sugar-sweetened beverages — soda, fruit drink, sweet tea, and sports or energy drinks — at least once a day, the report found.
In Minnesota, the proportion of adults with a once-a-day sugary drink habit was 22.3 percent. That was the third lowest percentage in the study. Only Vermont (18.0 percent) and Connecticut (20.6 percent) had lower rates.
The states with the highest percentages of residents who consume sugary drinks daily were in the South, led by Mississippi (47.5 percent), Louisiana (45.5 percent) and West Virginia (45.2 percent).
The report is based on 2013 survey data collected from 157,668 adults in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Minnesota had more individuals — 12,704 — participating in the survey than any other state.
Not a good thing
The finding that 30.1 percent of U.S. adults consume at least one sugary drink daily is actually quite surprising, given that 2009-2010 data analyzed by the CDC had found that 50.6 percent of U.S. adults consumed at least one sugary drink on any given day. While the discrepancy may reflect a positive trend — more people cutting back on sugary drinks — it may also be accounted for by the different ways the two sets of data were collected, say the CDC researchers.
Yet, even having a third of Americans — or a quarter of Minnesotans — downing one or more sugary beverages on a daily basis is not a good thing from a public or personal health perspective. Drinking just one sugary beverage daily is associated with an increased risk of obesity and many chronic health problems, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, the CDC researchers point out.
Health officials recommend that no more than 10 percent (or, better yet, 5 percent) of our daily calories should come from added sugar. And one of the best ways to cut back on added sugar is to eliminate sugary beverages, for such drinks currently account for almost one-third of all added sugar in the typical American adult’s diet.
Here are some other key findings from the new CDC study:
Age: Nationally, young people aged 18 to 24 were 2.3 times more likely to drink sugary beverages daily than those aged 55 and older (43.3 percent vs. 19.1 percent). Here in Minnesota, the difference was even starker, almost three times higher: 33.1 percent vs. 11.9 percent.
Gender: Nationally, men were 1.4 times more likely than women to consume sugary beverages daily: 34.1 percent vs. 24.4 percent. Again, in Minnesota the difference was even greater. Men were almost twice as likely as women (28.3 percent vs. 14.5 percent) to acknowledge they drank such beverages daily.
Race: When the national data was analyzed by race, blacks had the highest prevalence of daily sugary beverage consumption (39.9 percent), followed by Hispanics (36.3 percent), whites (26.7 percent) and “other” (21.2 percent). In Minnesota, however, Hispanics were the most likely to drink a sugary beverage daily (38.9 percent), followed by blacks (28.9 percent), “other” (20.5 percent) and whites (20.0 percent).
Education: The national data also revealed that the more education people attained, the lower their rates of sugary beverage consumption. Among people without a high school education, for example, 42.4 percent reported drinking a sugary beverage daily. That compares with 15.5 percent of those with a college degree. Here in Minnesota, the pattern is similar, although the difference in rates is slightly smaller: 27.1 percent vs. 12.7 percent.
Employment: Nationally, people who were unemployed were only slightly more likely to drink a sugary beverage daily (34.4 percent) than those who had a job (30.0 percent). In Minnesota, the difference was similarly narrow: 25 percent vs. 23.5 percent. As for people who are retired (a separate employment category), those in Minnesota were the least likely of those in any other state (8.9 percent) to say they drank a sugary beverage at least once a day. In fact, Minnesota was the only state in this category with a rate in the single digits. Nationally, 18.0 percent of retired people said they drank a sugar-sweetened beverage daily.
The CDC researchers say they hope this new report will help public health officials develop more effective educational and other policies to reduce the consumption of sugary beverages.
FMI: You can read the report in full on the CDC’s website.