The ABA said the report failed to account for total calories consumed

The ABA said the report failed to account for total calories consumed

The American Beverage Association (ABA) has criticised a report that claims drinking more soda increases childhood obesity, calling it “yet another example of science by press release”.

The study, presented at at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association on Tuesday (30 October), is not peer reviewed or nationally representative, the ABA said. The report could also damage ongoing efforts by the soft drinks industry to reduce the amount of calories consumed in US schools, the ABA said.

“Promoting (the research) is not only premature, but irresponsible,” the ABA said. “What we do know about this research is that it supports the important role that schools and families play in educating students about the importance of leading balanced, active and healthy lifestyles. Since 2006, our industry has been helping America’s schoolchildren do just that.”

The Indiana University research found that soda consumption is an “important determinant” in weight change in schoolchildren, alongside socio-economic status, time spent in front of screens and team sports participation.

However, the ABA said the study only covered 14 counties in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky – three states with the highest levels of childhood obesity in the US. It also said researchers used unreliable "nutrition recall" by the 5,300 students studied. The study was also “reckless” in failing to measure total calorie intake, the ABA said.

In August, the group said a high-profile study questioning the benefits of sports drinks displayed a “clear bias”.