Soft Drinks May Play Greater Role in Childhood Obesity than Previously Indicated, According to New Research

Research published in September by the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that sodas and other high-calorie, sweetened drinks may play a greater role in childhood obesity than previous studies have indicated.

The findings stem from three separate studies analyzing the soda consumption habits of overweight young people. In one clinical study, 224 subjects were placed in randomly assigned groups, with one group eliminating high-calorie sodas from their diets for a year. After the experiment concluded, researchers found that those who abstained from sugary beverages weighed four pounds less than those who did not abstain. 

An additional study at Harvard analyzed thousands of subjects with genetic predispositions to obesity, finding that those who did not consume high-calorie soft drinks were less likely to become obese than subjects that regularly consumed high-calorie beverages. According to the study, subjects that drank sugary beverages on a daily basis were five times likelier to become obese than those that avoided drinks with high-calorie content.

Harvard researchers told The Boston Globe that sugary drinks may not only increase the likelihood of obesity for individuals with genetic predispositions, but might even “exaggerate” certain genetic effects, perhaps increasing one’s cravings for such beverages.

Although the study linked short-term weight loss with the elimination of soda from one’s diet, the researchers ultimately concluded that this may not be a panacea for the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic. 

“Among overweight and obese adolescents, the increase in BMI was smaller in the experimental group than in the control group after a one-year intervention designed to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, but not at the two year follow-up,” the report states.


Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.


Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.


We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)

Recent Comments




Kennesaw State University Mountain Logo & Ceneter for Sustainable Journalism Logo
LOGO Institute for Nonprofit News 3 turquoise boxes stacked in "J" shape

Copyright © 2018 Youth Today and MVP Themes --- Published by Center for Sustainable Journalism,
Kennesaw State University, 1200 Chastain Blvd. Suite 310, Kennesaw GA 30144

To Top