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Be Well

Large-soda bans may not curb consumption

People may end up drinking as much or more soda when they are offered smaller beverage sizes, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego. Their findings suggest that bans on individual large-size sodas, such as proposed in New York City, wouldn’t necessarily mean that people would consume less.

For the study, 100 undergraduate students were given one of three drink menus. The first offered 16-, 24-, or 32-ounce soft drinks; the second menu offered a 16-ounce soda, a bundle of two 12-ounce drinks, or a bundle of two 16-ounce drinks; the third offered only 16-ounce sodas. Although the bundled drinks added up to the same price as a single serving with the same number of total ounces, students were more likely to buy the packs of smaller sodas than an individual soda of the same overall size.

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It’s likely the students drank at least as much soda even when drinks were available only in smaller cans, the researchers wrote.

BOTTOM LINE: Consumers may drink at least as much soda if large drink servings are banned.

CAUTIONS: The study did not measure whether the students who purchased more soda actually consumed a larger amount. The students who purchased the bundles also could have shared them with others.

WHERE TO FIND IT: PLOS ONE,

April 10

Research on health of young adults today

Younger adults today may be more prone to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease than previous generations were at the same ages, according to a European study.

Researchers from the Netherlands analyzed health records of more than 6,000 participants, beginning in 1987 and spanning nearly two decades. They divided the participants by gender and the decade in which they were born and looked at their body weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

Participants now in their 20s and 30s had higher levels of these risk factors for heart disease and diabetes than previous generations had when they were the same age.

Young adult males had the highest risk of heart disease: 40 percent of those who were in their 30s at the start of the study were considered overweight compared with 52 percent of those who were in their 30s at the end of the study.

Nearly twice as many adults in their 20s at the end of the study took medications to control high blood pressure or cholesterol compared with those who were in the same age group at the start of the study. Overall, the generational differences among women were smaller than among men. The researchers called the findings a “generation shift.”

BOTTOM LINE: Younger adults, especially men, may be more prone to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease than previous generations were at the same ages.

CAUTIONS: It’s unknown whether those who had risk factors went on to develop metabolic disorders such as heart disease.

WHERE TO FIND IT: European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, April 10

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