Heart disease is a complex problem with no single cause and no simple solution.
According to the American Heart Association, the major risk factors for heart disease are increasing age, gender (being male), genetics (including race), smoking and being overweight or obese.
When it comes to risk for heart disease, there is nothing unique about the calories from added sugars, or sugar-sweetened beverages for that matter. In fact, this has been confirmed by the Institute of Medicine.
While many risk factors are beyond our control, there are things we can do - including not smoking, maintaining an appropriate body weight and being physically fit - to help mitigate risk for heart disease.
If we truly want to reduce the incidence of heart disease, health professionals as well as other stakeholders must educate Americans about the risk factors and encourage people not to smoke (or not to start smoking) and maintain a healthy weight by balancing calories consumed - which includes eating a sensible, balanced diet - with calories burned by engaging in regular physical activity.
The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States. For more information on ABA, please visit the association's Web site at www.ameribev.org or call the ABA communications team at (202) 463-6770.