​Sugary Drink Deaths Occur More In Latin America

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March 21, 2013
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Most diabetes deaths linked to sugary drink consumption were reported in Latin America, a study compiled by Gitanjali Singh, and presented to the American Heart Association as the American Beverage Association weighs in.

Sugary Drink Deaths

The study is quite staggering and reveals that it’s not just a problem in America, as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg bans large sodas, but a problem that’s been seen all over the world.

In fact, researchers associated 180,000 deaths each year with soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

Researchers pulled data from a 2010 study on global disease burden for their analysis to come up with the number of deaths linked to sugary drink consumption. They calculated sugar intake around the world based on age and gender, in addition to the link between intake and risk for obesity and diabetes.

Overall, they found 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 44,000 from heart disease and 6,000 deaths from cancer across the globe that were linked to sugary drink intake. In the U.S., 25,000 deaths were linked to drinking sugary drinks; worldwide, 78 percent of these deaths were in low and middle-income countries, not high-income ones.

“We often think of this as a problem only in high-income countries, like the U.S.,” said study author Gitanjali Singh, a research at Harvard School of Public Health.

The most diabetes deaths linked to sugary drink consumption were reported in Latin America and the Caribbean — with 38,000 deaths — and the most deaths from cardiovascular conditions were in Eastern and Central Eurasia, which showed 11,000 deaths related to sugary drinks.

The country with the fewest deaths linked to sugary drinks was Japan, with a rate of 10 deaths per one million adults. Japan had one of the lowest per-capita rates of sugary drink consumption in the world.

The country with the most deaths linked to sugary drinks? Mexico, with 318 deaths per one million adults reported in the study. Mexico had one of the highest per-capita consumption of sugary drinks among the world’s 15 most populous countries.

Singh noted that her study only looked at adults, so it’s not known how sugary drink consumption in kids may affect their current health or chronic disease risk down the road.

The research was presented March 19 at the American Heart Association’s 2013 meeting in New Orleans and is considered preliminary.

The American Beverage Association, an industry group, noted in a statement that this study has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal and calls it “more about sensationalism than science.”