(HealthDay News) – Added sugar consumption is highest in non-Hispanic white children and adolescents and comes mainly from food, not beverages, consumed at home, according to a February data brief issued by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

R. Bethene Ervin, PhD, RD, of the NCHS in Hyattsville, MD, and colleagues used cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to evaluate the additional sugar consumed by children and adolescents in the United States from 2005–2008.

The researchers found that, compared with Mexican-American children and adolescents, non-Hispanic white children obtained a larger percentage of their calories from added sugars. Overall, the biggest source of calories from added sugars was food, not drinks, and these calories were more often consumed at home. Income level did not affect the amount of added sugars consumed.

“A substantial percentage of calories in the diets of children and adolescents between 2005 and 2008 came from added sugars. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, ‘reducing the consumption of these sources of added sugars will lower the caloric content of the diet, without compromising its nutrient adequacy.’ This strategy could play an important role in reducing the high prevalence of obesity in the United States without compromising adequate nutrition,” the authors write.

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