Dietary sugar intake and its association with obesity in children and adolescents

Emmanuella Magriplis, George Michas, Evgenia Petridi, George P. Chrousos, Eleftheria Roma, Vassiliki Benetou, Nikos Cholopoulos, Renata Micha, Demosthenes Panagiotakos, Antonis Zampelas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
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Sugar intake has been associated with increased prevalence of childhood overweight/obesity; however, results remain controversial. The aim of this study was to examine the probability of overweight/obesity with higher sugar intakes, accounting for other dietary intakes. Data from 1165 children and adolescents aged ≥2-18 years (66.8% males) enrolled in the Hellenic National Nutrition and Health Survey (HNNHS) were used; specifically, 781 children aged 2-11 years and 384 adolescents 12-18 years. Total and added sugar intake were assessed using two 24 h recalls (24 hR). Foods were categorized into specific food groups to evaluate the main foods contributing to intakes. A significant proportion of children (18.7%) and adolescents (24.5%) exceeded the recommended cut-off of 10% of total energy intake from added sugars. Sweets (29.8%) and processed/refined grains and cereals (19.1%) were the main sources of added sugars in both age groups, while in adolescents, the third main contributor was sugar-sweetened beverages (20.6%). Being overweight or obese was 2.57 (p = 0.002) and 1.77 (p = 0.047) times more likely for intakes ≥10% of total energy from added sugars compared to less <10%, when accounting for food groups and macronutrient intakes, respectively. The predicted probability of becoming obese was also significant with higher total and added-sugar consumption. We conclude that high consumption of added sugars increased the probability for overweight/obesity among youth, irrespectively of other dietary or macronutrient intakes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number676
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


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