We propose to examine the prospective ssociation of consumption of sweetened beverages, fast food, and commercially prepared foods with weight gain, waist circumference, hypertension, and the development of obesity among 10,920 adolescents and young adults in the Growing Up Today Study II. Several studies have reported an association between consumption of both artificial and sugar-sweetened beverages and subsequent weight gain. Although much of the focus on the association between sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain has been on sodas (e.g., carbonated colas), soda sales have been declining during the past several years. During that time there have been large increases in the consumption of sports drinks (e.g., Gatorade), energy drinks (e.g., Red Bull), and prepared sweetened coffee beverages (e.g., Dunkin Donuts Coffee Coolattas(R)) among adolescents and young adults. In addition, during the past several decades there has been an increase in the amount of prepared food that is consumed either at home or eaten in restaurants. Several studies have found fast food intake to predict weight gain, but data on the association with other types of prepared foods is lacking. Fast food and commercially prepared foods have been found to be inversely associated with fiber intake and positively associated with intake of sodium and sugar sweetened beverages, but the association between intake of these foods and hypertension has not been studied prospectively in adolescents and young adults. Moreover, although sugar-sweetened beverages are often consumed with fast food, we are not aware of any studies that have looked simultaneously at these two dietary predictors of weight gain. We will use linear mixed models and generalized estimating equations to analyze data from from questionnaires collected in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 from 10,920 adolescents and young adults nationwide, to assess the independent association of sweetened soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and coffee drinks with subsequent weight gain and the development of obesity. In addition, we will determine whether frequency of eating prepared foods (fast food and commercially prepared take out food) is independently predictive of weight gain, waist circumference, hypertension, and the development of obesity. This study will have >85% power to detect moderate associations (e.g., relative risk e 1.4) with the development of overweight and obesity. The proposed study is novel in that it will study the associations of popular sweetened beverages that have not been studied in relationship to weight gain. Moreover, it will be the first large prospective study to investigate the associations of both sweetened beverages and fast food with subsequent weight gain simultaneously, as well as the first to study fast food and commercially prepared foods as predictors of waist circumference and hypertension among adolescents and young adults. Overweight, obesity, and hypertension are serious public health problems in the United States, thus understanding modifiable determinants of weight gain and high blood pressure is of extreme importance.

Public Health Relevance

Obesity is a major public health problem in the United tates. Consumption of sports drinks, energy drinks, prepared coffee beverages, fast food, and take out food, all of which can contain a substantial number of calories, have been increasing among adolescents and young adults, but, with the exception of fast food, have never been studied in relation to weight gain. We propose to study how these beverage and food intake patterns are related to weight gain among adolescents and young adults.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
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Kidney, Nutrition, Obesity and Diabetes (KNOD)
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Hunter, Christine
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Children's Hospital Boston
United States
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