Acceso gestor editorial

Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and obesity in children’s meta-analyses: reaching wrong answers for right questions.

Mariela Nissensohn , Daniel Fuentes Lugo , Lluis Serra-Majem


Background: Recent studies assert that sugar-containing drinks may play a key role in the etiology of obesity. However, scientific reviews show contradictory results. Whether there is just association or clear causation still is a matter of debate. It is also subject to discussion whether the quality/adequacy of the different studies may influence their outcome. Objective: The aim of this study is to explore the most recent scientific evidence focused on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) and child obesity and to further analyze the adequacy of the meta-analyses in terms of their results, with special emphasis in the methodology, clarity and transparence of their procedures. Methods: Only meta-analyses of randomized control trial studies were selected. The search was performed on PubMed and Cochrane Website until January, 2016. Adherence to PRISMA was assessed. Results: Six meta-analyses were included. All of them showed some degree of evidence of heterogeneity in theirs pool estimates. Two of them showed a positive association between SSB and obesity but the other four found no association. The adherence to the PRISMA criteria was higher in two of the meta-analyses that showed opposite conclusions regarding the association or non-association of SSB and obesity in children. Thus, there is no relation between the adequacy of the meta-analyses to the PRISMA criteria and the results obtained. Conclusion:The use of meta-analysis as a scientific tool still demand more polishing, agreement and spread out use by researchers. SSB are being accused of being a main cause of the existing obesity, but this subject requires a broader approach that includes a thorough analysis of diet and lifestyle and a stronger body of scientific evidence based on data from epidemiological studies conducted in different populations.  

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