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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Public Health

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



beverage, body composition, soda, diet drink, juice, obesity


In the U.S., over 67 million adults are obese and 300,000 annual deaths are related to obesity. Among college-aged women, over 60% report daily consumption of caloric beverages. Prior studies indicate positive associations between these beverages and obesity, but conflicting results for diet drinks. Studies were limited, however, by obesity measures that failed to accurately assess abdominal adiposity or percent body fat, and few studies included college-aged women.

We examined this relationship among participants aged 18-30 in the University of Massachusetts Vitamin D Status Study (n=237). We assessed average diet in the past two months using a modified version of the Harvard Food Frequency Questionnaire and calculated percent body fat by dual-energy X-ray absorptiomtery. Confounding factors were assessed using a lifestyle questionnaire. Multiple logistic regression was used to adjust for important risk factors.

We found no association between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages or juice and obesity after controlling for confounding factors. However, high consumption of diet drinks (i.e., >2 servings per week) was associated with an increased risk of overweight (BMI>25) (OR=2.88, 95% CI 1.34, 6.21), high waist circumference (>80 cm) (OR=3.14, 95% CI 1.56, 6.35) and high percent body fat (>33%) (OR=2.86, 95% CI 1.42, 5.77) as compared to light consumption (i.e, <1 serving per>month). These associations were not attenuated by controlling for total caloric intake. Findings should be evaluated in additional longitudinal studies to determine whether diet drinks contribute to adiposity or if the association is due to higher diet drink consumption by overweight women.


First Advisor

Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson

Second Advisor

Alayne G. Ronnenberg

Included in

Epidemiology Commons