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Research: Latino kids consume more sugary drinks

Posted: Thursday, October 03, 2013 · Volume: XLVI · Issue: 20

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New research, a video and infographic highlight strategies to reduce consumption of sugary drinks by Latino kids. The new package of research materials is produced jointly by Salud America! and Bridging the Gap, two national research programs funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
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New research, a video and infographic highlight strategies to reduce consumption of sugary drinks by Latino kids. The new package of research materials is produced jointly by Salud America! and Bridging the Gap, two national research programs funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.clear graphic

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Contact: Sheila Hotchkin,
210-567-3026

SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 1, 2013) — Latino kids consume more soft drinks, fruit-flavored drinks and other sugary drinks on average than do their white or African-American peers, putting them at greater risk of obesity and diabetes.

Raising the price of sugary drinks could reduce consumption among Latino kids and potentially improve weight outcomes, according to a new package of research materials produced jointly by Salud America! and Bridging the Gap, two national research programs funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Salud America! is based at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Reviewing the latest science
The new “Sugary Drinks & Latino Kids” research materials start with an in-depth review of the latest science on sugary drink consumption by Latino kids and how pricing strategies could influence consumption. The materials also provide policy implications based on that research.

The full package of materials also includes an original animated video and infographic.

This infographic illustrates the problem with sugary drinks among Latinos and some possible solutions to this public health issue. Click on images for a larger view
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This infographic illustrates the problem with sugary drinks among Latinos and some possible solutions to this public health issue. Click on images for a larger viewclear graphic

 

Data show that Latino kids increased consumption of sugary drinks between 1991 and 2008. By age 2, 74 percent of Latino kids have had a sugary drink, compared with 45 percent of white kids.

By high school, 22 percent of Latino kids have three or more sugary drinks a day (versus 16 percent of white kids).

Possible solutions
Strategies to alter sugary drink prices ― such as a sugary drink tax, exclusion of sugary drinks from food assistance programs and subsidization of healthier beverages ― have been suggested to reduce consumption.

“One study found that higher sugary drink prices were linked to lower body weight in school children, with a greater impact on Latino kids,” said Amelie G. Ramirez, Dr.P.H., director of Salud America!, a national network of stakeholders seeking research and environmental solutions to Latino obesity. Salud America! is based at the Institute for Health Promotion Research, part of the School of Medicine at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.

Sugary drink taxes, for example, have been proposed in several areas, with many proposals earmarking new revenues for obesity-prevention and other health-promotion efforts.

While projections about the effects of such a tax vary, much research concludes that a tax higher than current sales tax rates would have some impact on consumption of sugary drinks.

For instance, one study found that a penny-per-ounce tax (i.e., about a 20 percent price increase if fully passed on to consumers) would decrease sugary drink consumption by up to 24 percent, which, researchers predict, would decrease obesity and diabetes rates.

Preventing its impact on public health
“It is important for public health to limit the amount of added sugar consumed by Latino youths, given the impact of this added sugar on obesity, diabetes, liver disease and cardiovascular disease now and into the future,” said Frank Chaloupka, Ph.D., distinguished professor of economics and public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago and project director for Bridging the Gap.

More research on Latino childhood obesity
The new research package is the last of six Salud America! packages this year, each of which focused on a specific topic related to Latino childhood obesity: Each topic’s package contains:
  • a research review;
  • an assessment of all available scientific evidence on the topic;
  • an issue brief;
  • a short summary of the research review;
  • an animated video narrated by Latino children; and
  • an infographic, a visual summary of the topic.
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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced more than 29,000 graduates. The $765.2 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.


 
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