Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Sweets and sugar-sweetened soft drink intake in childhood in relation to adult BMI and overweight. The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study

Katja Nissinena1 c1, Vera Mikkiläa2, Satu Männistöa3, Marjaana Lahti-Koskia1a4, Leena Räsänena2, Jorma Viikaria5 and Olli T Raitakaria6

a1 Nutrition Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, PO Box 30, FIN-00271 Helsinki, Finland

a2 Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology, Division of Nutrition, PO Box 66, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

a3 Chronic Disease Prevention and Epidemiology Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare, PO Box 30, FIN-00271 Helsinki, Finland

a4 Finnish Heart Association, PO Box 50, FIN-00621 Helsinki, Finland

a5 Department of Medicine, University of Turku and Turku University Central Hospital, PO Box 52, FIN-20521 Turku, Finland

a6 Department of Clinical Physiology, Turku University Central Hospital, PO Box 52, FIN-20521 Turku, Finland

Abstract

Objective To investigate the associations of BMI and overweight in adulthood with consumption of sweets and sugar-sweetened soft drinks in childhood and with the change in consumption between childhood and adulthood.

Design Longitudinal 21-year follow-up study of Finnish children and adolescents from childhood to adulthood.

Setting The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, comprising participants from both eastern and western Finland.

Subjects Boys (n 967) and girls (n 1172) aged 3–18 years at baseline in 1980.

Results The increase in consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks from childhood to adulthood was directly associated with BMI in adulthood in women (b = 0·45, P = 0·0001) but not in men. In women, BMI increased by 0·45 kg/m2 for every 10-unit increase per month. Consumption of sweets and sugar-sweetened soft drinks in childhood and adolescence was not associated with BMI in adulthood. The change in consumption of sweets was not associated with BMI in adulthood. The increase in the consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks from childhood to adulthood was associated with being overweight (OR = 1·90, 95 % CI 1·38, 2·61) in women, but not in men. No association was found between overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2) in adulthood and consumption of sweets in childhood or the change in consumption from childhood to adulthood.

Conclusions We conclude that direct associations exist between adulthood overweight and BMI and an increase in consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks in women. Thus sugar-sweetened soft drinks consumption may be important when considering weight management in women.

(Received November 24 2007)

(Accepted March 23 2009)

(Online publication May 28 2009)

Correspondence

c1 Corresponding author: Email Katja.Nissinen@thl.fi

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