It is well known that reducing consumption of sugar is a global public health priority. Beverages were the primary source of total sugar intake from processed foods. However, there are few studies investigating the trend of beverage consumption among children and adolescents in Korea. We examined the overall trend in beverage consumption among 11,996 participants aged 10–18 years who were enrolled in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) (1998–2018). Further, we examined the effect of beverage types on beverage consumption-related demographic factors and obesity among 6121 participants using the recent 24 h dietary recall data (2010–2018) that captured the consumption of fruit and vegetable juices, soft drinks, milk and milk-based products and alcoholic beverages. Demographic characteristics, including sex, age, body mass index, household income level and residential area, were considered. Consumers’ overall beverage intake and the percentage of energy derived from fruit and vegetable juices and soft drinks steadily increased from 1998 to 2016–2018 (p
-trend < 0.0001); in contrast, dairy product consumption declined since 2010–2012. The main sources of beverage-based calories were fruit and vegetable juices (107.5 kcal/day), soft drinks (145.2 kcal/day), dairy products (181.8 kcal/day) and alcoholic beverages (103.5 kcal/day). Also, Korean adolescents aged 16–18 years consumed more soft drinks, fewer dairy products and higher alcoholic drinks than other age groups; particularly, boys consumed more energy from beverages (p
< 0.0001). The odds ratios of obesity prevalence tended to be higher for soft drink consumption than for other beverages but this was not significant. The consumption of fruit and vegetable juices and milk and milk products showed a marginal association with a reduced risk of obesity prevalence. Since beverage consumption has increased steadily among Korean children and adolescents, appropriate interventions are needed. In the future, data from a larger sample of Korean children and adolescents are necessary to identify significant differences and longitudinal studies are necessary to examine the causalities.
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