CDC: Half of Americans have sugary drink daily

August 31, 2011 (ATLANTA)

A new study found that one in 20 drinks the equivalent of more than four cans of soda each day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research also showed teenage boys drink the most soda, sports drinks and other sugary liquids.

Sweetened drinks have been linked to the U.S. explosion in obesity, and health officials have been urging people to cut back. Many schools have stopped selling soda or artificial juices.

The CDC report released Wednesday is said to be the first to offer national statistics for adults and kids. Past studies have focused on certain groups, particularly school kids. The agency is encouraging individuals to work to decrease consumption of soda and other sugary drinks.

"It is really bad, especially for children, because it sets a precedent, it sets a habit that along with your meals you will get the extra sugary calories," said Elizabeth Zawila, nutritionist at UIC.

The report discloses that sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet. Consumption of the sugary drinks increases the risks of obesity which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, stroke and many other health problems

"The report is just sort of highlighting one of the reasons for obesity and showing very clearly that sugary drinks are overconsumed by young people," said Dr. Molly Martin, pediatrition, Rush University Medical Center. "The recommendation is no soda and no diet drinks."

"Even juices are, you know, we recommend 100% fruit juice if you're going to drink juice and keep it to a modest 6-ounce portion size," said Zawila.

The report recommends individuals limit their sugary sweet drink intake and instead drink water.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say reducing the consumption of sugary drinks would be a major public health victory and would help reduce health care costs for all levels of government. The center's campaign seeks to decrease consumption of soda and sugary drinks by two thirds, closer to the American Heart Association's recommendation of three cans per person per week.

ABC7 News asked several people on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus how many sweet drinks, sodas and sports drinks they consumer daily.

"I drink Coke. Two drinks every day," said Lizel Acosta.

"I drink it a lot, every day just to get that rush in my body," said Robin Varghese.

Jennifer Vochinek drinks about four sugary sweet drinks daily and says she can't stop.

"I need it. I can't. Too hooked on it," said Vochinek.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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