September 26th 2019

While many recent studies focus on the current eating behaviors of today’s population, a new study by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville suggests the obesity rates in adults in the United States could be the result of dietary habits from decades ago.

While many recent studies focus on the current eating behaviors of today’s population, a new study by researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville suggests the obesity rates in adults in the United States could be the result of dietary habits from decades ago.

The researchers used national obesity data, collected between 1990 and 2004 by the CDC, and compared this data with the annual sugar consumption since 1970 using the median per capita rates, issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Before the 2000s, the main sweetener in soft drinks and many processed foods was high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which caused a large increase in sugar for the U.S. population. The findings revealed that at peak sugar consumption in 1999, each person in the U.S. consumed on average around 60 pounds of HFCS per year. The average person consumed more than 400 calories per day in total excess sugars.

U.S. sugar consumption has declined since 2000 but is still a main contributor to childhood and adult obesity. If the high-sugar diets in childhood have long-lasting effects, it is safe for researchers to assume that the digressions we see now in adult obesity rates started with our diets from decades ago, when those adults were children.

Research around this topic will be continued by exploring the effect of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Reference

Today’s obesity epidemic may have been caused by childhood sugar intake decades ago.Science Dailywebsite. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190923164534.htm. Published September 23, 2019. Accessed September 24, 2019.

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