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How Sweet It Is: Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption, Obesity, and Cardiovascular Risk in Childhood

      During the past 40 years, childhood obesity has become a pressing public health concern (
      • Lobstein T.
      • Baur L.
      • Uauy R.
      Obesity in children and young people: A crisis in public health Report of the International Obesity Task Force Childhood Obesity Working Group.
      ). Analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2007 to 2008 (
      • Ogden C.L.
      • Carroll M.D.
      • Curtin L.R.
      • Lamb M.M.
      • Flegal K.M.
      Prevalence of high body mass index in US children and adolescents, 2007-2008.
      ) indicates that 16.9% of children and adolescents had a body mass index (BMI) ≥95th percentile based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts, and would be termed obese per the Expert Committee recommendations endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (
      • Barlow S.E.
      Expert Committee
      Expert committee recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment and treatment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity.
      ). Although overall prevalence estimates were unchanged compared with those from 1999-2000, there was a significant increase in the prevalence of boys aged 6 through 19 years with BMI ≥97th percentile, the heaviest group. There are persistent differences in obesity prevalence by region, racial/ethnic group and socioeconomic status, as exemplified in a recent report from the Bogalusa Heart Study (
      • Broyles S.
      • Katzmarzyk P.T.
      • Srinivasan S.R.
      • Chen W.
      • Bouchard C.
      • Freedman D.S.
      • Berenson G.S.
      The pediatric obesity epidemic continues unabated in Bogalusa, Louisiana.
      ). In that study, community screening of 5- to 17-year-old schoolchildren revealed that the prevalence of obesity has increased more than fivefold, from 5.6% in 1973-1974 to 30.8% in 2008-2009. Information from longitudinal epidemiologic studies indicates that children with high BMI have a strong chance of becoming obese adults (
      • Serdula M.K.
      • Ivery D.
      • Coates R.J.
      • Freedman D.S.
      • Williamson D.F.
      • Byers T.
      Do obese children become obese adults? A review of the literature.
      ) and are at risk for a range of serious conditions, including hyperinsulinemia/type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia beginning in childhood, and premature cardiovascular disease in adult life (
      • Freedman D.S.
      • Mei Z.
      • Srinivasan S.R.
      • Berenson G.S.
      • Dietz W.H.
      Cardiovascular risk factors and excess adiposity among overweight children and adolescents: The Bogalusa Heart Study.
      ,
      National Institutes of Health
      Clinical guidelines on the identification and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: The evidence report.
      ). Obesity in children and adolescents is both prevalent and severe with important current and future health consequences.
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      Biography

      R.-E. W. Kavey is a professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Cardiology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY.