Research to improve people's health


18% of the boys and 15% of the girls in Sabadell consume soft drinks daily

A study analyzes the real consumption of sugary, energy and sports drinks in about 4,000 adolescents in the municipality.

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The consumption of sugary drinks is very extensive in the child population. In addition, this consumption has been related to different adverse effects and is one of the main factors associated with the childhood obesity epidemic. In this context, the Been study, led by professionals from IDIAPJGol and from the North Metropolitan Primary Care of the Catalan Health Institute, has collected real data on the consumption of these products among 4,000 students aged 13 to 18 in Sabadell.

Among the data collected, the consumption of soft drinks among the young people studied is particularly striking, as well as the differences in consumption between men and women. Specifically, regarding soft drinks, 18.4% of the boys participating in the study claim to consume daily. In the case of girls, the figure drops to 15.6%. Regarding sports drinks, boys drink them daily in 4.8% of cases and girls in 1.4%. Finally, energy drinks are consumed every day by 1.7% of boys between 13 and 18 years old, and by 1% of girls.

Thus, according to the results of the study, the frequency and quantity of sports drinks, energy drinks and soft drinks is higher in boys than in girls. In addition, evidence has been found that the consumption of energy drinks and soft drinks increases in adolescent boys who also smoke, are not physically active, have low school performance and come from low-income families. In contrast, the consumption of sports drinks is higher in young people who practice sports and do not smoke.

Identify those most vulnerable to exposure to sugary drinks

The study analyzed consumption data for different types of sugary drinks, such as sports drinks, energy drinks or soft drinks. Other studies indicate that, in Spain, 60% of adolescents and 26% of children report having consumed energy drinks, which are in the spotlight due to their toxic potential linked to caffeine. There is evidence that the consumption of these beverages increases cardiovascular risk not only in adults, but also in the younger population.

Taking into account the health risks posed by the consumption of these beverages, and in order to be able to design preventive programs, it is important to identify the children most vulnerable to exposure to these products. Therefore, the Been study tries to describe the sociodemographic and lifestyle determinants linked to the consumption of sugary drinks, including all types.

Policies are needed to reduce the consumption of these beverages

Considering the fact that the consumption of sugary drinks has harmful effects on the health of children at a cardiometabolic level, the researchers of the Been study consider it necessary to implement policies to reduce consumption. They also point out that an action that could be effective to reduce the consumption of this type of beverages could be to increase taxes on these products.