Sugar-sweetened drinks responsible for 25,000 U.S. deaths each year

July 21, 2015
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health 

Research published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, concluded that sugary beverages cause the deaths of 25,000 Americans each year through their contributions to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Globally, sugary drinks contribute to 180,000 deaths each year, with the highest death rate in Mexico. The U.S. ranked second.

The study’s authors examined beverage consumption through national dietary surveys gathered by 51 countries from 1980 to 2010. After estimating how sugar-sweetened beverages contribute toward obesity, and how obesity contributes toward various diseases, the researchers were able to conclude how many deaths from those diseases were due to sugary drinks.

"This is not complicated," Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., senior author of the research, told the Los Angeles Times. “There are no health benefits from sugar-sweetened beverages, and the potential impact of reducing consumption is saving tens of thousands of deaths each year." Dr. Mozaffarian also serves as dean of Tuft University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

The study on sugary beverages did not examine the effects on children consuming these beverages, but study coauthor Gitanjali Singh predicts dire consequences for the next generation if consumption rates continue at the current rate.

For more information on the study, click here.


The California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation’s #BeatTheSweet project is engaging physicians across the state to educate their patients about sugary drinks and how they increase the prospect of developing diabetes. The CMA Foundation and the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO) are both sponsoring the campaign with funding from the California Endowment.

As part of the campaign, physicians can request a poster for their offices that shows a large can of soda with the lettering “Type 2 Diabetes” and “Did you know that one junk drink a day can increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes by 25 percent?” Physicians are encouraged to place the poster in their waiting rooms where patients can see it to help open a dialog on the topic of sugary drinks and their effects on health.

Physicians are also asked to take pictures of themselves engaged in conversations with their patients and post them to social media, like Twitter or Facebook, with the hashtags #BeatTheSweet and/or #SugarlessPour. These hashtags will allow the Foundation to find your post. The CMA Foundation will repost photos with these hashtags to its Facebook page.

To get your free poster, contact Liza Kirkland at lkirkland@phcdocs.org or (916) 779-6643.


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