DefinitionPercentage of adults 18 years of age and older who responded 1 or more sugary drinks per day in total on the [http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Chronic/Pages/brfss/default.aspx Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)]. Results are derived from a combination of questions that ask about specific sugary drink types, which have varied over time. When the term "sugary drink" is used, it corresponds with the derived score from the responses to the questions about intake of regular soda and drinks sweetened with sugar. In some cases the results are also reported as "regular soda" and "sugar-sweetened drink, not including soda."
In 2005, 2009, and 2011, the sugary drink questions were:
On an average day, how many cans, bottles, or glasses each of the following beverages do you drink?
(a) Regular soda or other sweetened carbonated beverages;
(b) Sweetened non-carbonated beverages, including those made from a powdered mix.
In 2013 and 2015, the sugary drink questions were:
During the past 30 days, how often did you drink regular soda or pop that contains sugar? Do not include diet soda or diet pop.*
During the past 30 days, how often did you drink sugar-sweetened fruit drinks (such as Kool-aid and lemonade), sweet tea, and sports or energy drinks (such as Gatorade and Red Bull)? Do not include 100% fruit juice, diet drinks, or artificially sweetened drinks).*[[br]]
^*^Respondents could answer times per day, week, or month: for example, twice a day, once a week, and so forth.}}
NumeratorWeighted number of adults (18+) responding 1 or more drinks per day in total on the BRFSS to the sugary drinks question.
DenominatorWeighted number of adults (18+) providing complete and valid responses on the BRFSS to the sugary drinks question. Missing, "Don't Know/Not sure," and "Refused" responses are excluded.
Data Interpretation IssuesSugary drink intake questions are only asked during odd numbered years. The wording of the sugary drinks questions changed significantly in 2013. Prior to 2013, respondents were asked about their consumption on an average day for soda and sweetened beverages (Number of cans or glasses, Less than one a day, None). In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided states with an optional module related to sugary drinks in which respondents were asked about their sugary drink consumption during the past 30 days (Times per day, Times per week , Times per month). Alaska fielded the CDC sugary drink optional module to allow national and state comparisons. Due to this change in wording of the question, trends in soda, other sugar sweetened drinks, and sugary drinks (soda and other sweetened drinks combined) should only be considered from 2005-2011 and again from 2013 forward. Responses to the later question have been recoded to reflect number of soda and sweetened beverages per day.
Why Is This Important?There is strong evidence that consuming sugary drinks is linked to obesity,^1,2^ type 2 diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay.^3,4,5,6^ The American Heart Association has issued scientific statements describing the risk of added sugars and cardiovascular disease risk in adults and in children.^7,8^ In rural Alaska Native children, the severity of dental caries in primary and permanent teeth increased with each reported soda consumed.^9^ Sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugar in Americans' daily diets. Added sugars contribute an average of 16% of the total calories in American diets; 46% of those calories come from sugary drinks.^10^ Sugary drinks provide empty calories; they are high in calories but low in nutrients.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that less than 10% of calories come from added sugar. These recommendations aim to promote health, prevent chronic disease, and help people reach and maintain a healthy weight.^10^ For a reference diet of 2,000 calories (chosen by the Food and Drug Administration so that consumers can easily calculate their specific needs as the number of calories needed varies based upon gender, age, weight, and activity pattern), the recommendation is less than 200 calories, 50 grams or 12.5 teaspoons of added sugar. One regular 12 ounce can of soda contains 140 calories (or 40 grams or 10 teaspoons) of added sugar. This means that even one sugary drink a day puts most people near their limit of added sugar for the day increasing their risk of certain diseases.
Nationally, the US mean adjusted intake of added sugars remains high. In 2011-2012, children and adults consumed 326 kcal/day and 308 kcal/day, respectively, of added sugars, or 14% and 17%, respectively, of total their energy. For both children and adults, there was a considerable increase in calories from added sugars from 1977 to 2003, followed by a substantial decline from 2003 to 2012. Nationally, there was no decline in the percentage of total energy intake from added sugars from 2003 to 2012.^11^[[br]]
See Resources and References.}}
How Are We Doing?In Alaska, sugary drink intake is used as a proxy measure to track added sugar consumption since it accounts for 47% of added sugar in the American diet.^10^ Due to a change in wording of the questions, trends in soda, other sugar sweetened drinks, and sugary drinks (soda and other sweetened drinks combined) should only be reviewed from 2005-2011 and then 2013 forward.
In 2017, 23.3% of Alaska adults drank one or more sugary drink (soda or other sugar sweetened beverage) every day. Overall, sugary drinks intake was most common among men, Alaska Native adults, and those living in the Northern and Southwest public health regions. Sugary drink intake declined with increasing education and income.
In Alaska, comparisons of consumption patterns with other risk factors found higher levels of sugary drink intake among current smokers; those who identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual; those who experienced higher exposure to adverse childhood experiences; and those who rated their general health as only good or fair/poor. These were no significant difference among those who were overweight or obese from those with a healthy weight.
Almost 60% of Alaska adults support a special tax on sugary drinks if the revenue generated supported efforts to address childhood obesity.[[br]]
See Resources and References.}}