Added sugars in the diet are positively associated with diastolic blood pressure and triglycerides in children1-3

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Hypertension and dyslipidemia have traditionally been associated with dietary sodium and fat intakes, respectively; however, they have recently been associated with the consumption of added sugars in adults and older adolescents, but there is no clear indication of how early in the life span this association manifests.


This study explored the cross-sectional association between added sugar (sugars not naturally occurring in foods) consumption in children, blood pressure (BP), and fasting blood lipids [triglycerides and total, low-density lipoprotein, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol].


BP, blood lipids, and dietary intakes were obtained in a multiethnic pediatric sample aged 7-12 y of 122 European American (EA), 106 African American (AA), 84 Hispanic American (HA), and 8 mixed-race children participating in the Admixture Mapping of Ethnic and Racial Insulin Complex Outcomes (AMERICO) study—a cross-sectional study conducted in the Birmingham, AL, metro area investigating the effects of racial-ethnic differences on metabolic and health outcomes. Multiple regression analyses were performed to evaluate the relations of added sugars and sodium intakes with BP and of added sugars and dietary fat intakes with blood lipids. Models were controlled for sex, race-ethnicity, socioeconomic status, Tanner pubertal status, percentage body fat, physical activity, and total energy intake.


Added sugars were positively associated with diastolic BP (P = 0.0462, β = 0.0206) and serum triglycerides (P = 0.0206, β = 0.1090). Sodium was not significantly associated with either measure of BP nor was dietary fat with blood lipids. HA children had higher triglycerides but lower added sugar consumption than did either the AA or EA children. The AA participants had higher BP and HDL but lower triglycerides than did either the EA or HA children.


These data suggest that increased consumption of added sugars may be associated with adverse cardiovascular health factors in children, specifically elevated diastolic BP and triglycerides. Identification of dietary factors influencing cardiovascular health during childhood could serve as a tool to reduce cardiovascular disease risk. This trial was registered at as NCT00726778.

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