Soft drink consumption and multimorbidity among adults

Zumin Shi, Guillaume Ruel, Eleonora Dal Grande, Rhiannon Pilkington, Anne W. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background and aims: We aimed to examine the association between soft drink consumption and multimorbidity among adults in South Australia. Methods: Data were collected using a risk factor surveillance system between 2008 and 2013. Each month a representative random sample of South Australians are selected from the Electronic White Pages with interviews conducted using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). We define multimorbidity as currently having two or more of nine chronic conditions: asthma, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease (CVD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), mental health problems, osteoporosis, and arthritis. Results: Among 36,663 participants aged over 16 years old, 10.5% reported daily soft drink consumption of more than half a litre and 28.5% had multimorbidity. Soft drink consumption was positively associated with all nine chronic diseases except osteoporosis. High levels of soft drink consumption were positively associated with multimorbidity and increased with the number of chronic diseases. In the multivariable analysis, after adjusting for socio-demographic and lifestyle factors, comparing those who consumed more than half a litre of soft drink per day with those not consuming soft drink, the relative risk ratios (RRRs) for multimorbidity were 1.87 (95% CI 1.61-2.17) and higher for women 2.18 (95% CI 1.78-2.66). Multimorbidity prevalence increased with age but its association with soft drink consumption was stronger in those under 60 years old. In 2008, close to one out of three participants with multimorbidity had a high level of soft drink consumption. The prevalence of high levels of soft drink consumption decreased over the five years. Conclusion: There is a positive association between consumption of soft drink and multimorbidity among adults in South Australia and this relationship is stronger in younger people. This has implications for population level strategies to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and multimorbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e71-e76
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Nutrition ESPEN
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Epidemiology
  • Multimorbidity
  • Soft drink


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