New Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) research suggests that roughly 180,000 obesity-related deaths worldwide—including 25,000 Americans—are associated with the consumption of sugary drinks. The abstract, presented at an American Heart Association scientific conference in New Orleans, linked drinking sugar-sweetened beverages to 133,000 diabetes deaths, 44,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases, and 6,000 cancer deaths. The researchers found that 78% of these deaths were in low- and middle-income countries.
Of nine world regions, Latin America and the Caribbean had the most diabetes deaths related to sugary drink consumption (38,000), and East and Central Eurasia had the largest numbers of cardiovascular deaths (11,000). Of the world’s most populous nations, Mexico had the highest number of deaths attributable to over-consumption of sugary drinks and the United States was third. Japan had the fewest such deaths.
The finding that three-quarters of the deaths were from diabetes “suggests that limiting sugary-beverage intake is an important step in reducing diabetes deaths,” co-author Gitanjali Singh, a postdoctoral research fellow at HSPH, said in a March 19, 2013 USA Today article.