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Nutr Res Pract. 2019 Apr;13(2):134-140. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2019.13.2.134. Epub 2019 Feb 25.

Socioeconomic burden of sugar-sweetened beverages consumption in Korea.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 03722, Korea.
Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Etiology Research Center, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 03722, Korea.
Department of Economics, Hanshin University, Osan 18101, Korea.
Department of Food and Nutrition, Kookmin University, 77 Jeongeung-ro, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 02707, Korea.
Department of Food and Nutrition, Daejeon University, Daejeon 34520, Korea.
Department of Food and Nutrition, Hoseo University, Asan 31499, Korea.
Nutrition for the future (Inc), Seoul 08708, Korea.
Department of Social Welfare, Wonkang University, Iksan 54538, Korea.
Research Center of Social Economic, Wonkang University, Iksan 54538, Korea.



Excessive sugar consumption may increase the risk for development of several diseases. Although average dietary sugar intake of Koreans is within the recommended level, an increasing trend has been found in all age groups. This study aimed to evaluate the population attributable fractions (PAF) to dietary sugar for disease and death in Korea, and to estimate the socioeconomic effects of a reduction in dietary sugar.


The prevalence of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) overconsumption (≥ 20 g of sugar from beverages) was analyzed using the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2015. Disease-specific relative risks of excessive SSB consumption were obtained through reviewing previous studies. Using the prevalence of SSB overconsumption and each relative risk, PAFs for morbidity and mortality were calculated. Socioeconomic costs of diseases and death attributable to SSB overconsumption were estimated by using representative data on national medical expenditures, health insurance statistics, employment information, and previous reports.


Disease-specific PAF to SSB consumption ranged from 3.11% for stroke to 9.05% for obesity and dental caries, respectively. Costs from disease caused by SSB overconsumption was estimated at 594 billion won in 2015. About 39 billion won was estimated to be from SSB consumption-related deaths, and a total of 633 billion won was predicted to have been saved through preventing SSB overconsumption.


Sugars overconsumption causes considerable public burdens, although the cost estimates do not include any informal expenditure. Information on these socioeconomic effects helps both health professionals and policy makers to create and to implement programs for reducing sugar consumption.


Dietary sugars; costs; public health; sugar-sweetened beverages

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