Lead author Huifen Wang, a doctoral candidate in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, says the researchers' heart study included six surveys looking at subjects' diet, height and weight, conducted during the period of 1980 to 2009.
"There is limited data available looking at how added sugar intake is related to body mass index," Wang says in a statement. "With the information provided, we examined the trends for body mass index and dietary intake of foods and beverages with added sugars across the six surveys."
Consumption of sugars and syrups added to foods during processing, preparation or at the table increased during the past three decades, Wang says.
Although there was a slight decline from 2000 to 2002, the consumption of added sugars remained high among the Minnesotans studied, and although other lifestyle factors should be considered for America's increasing waistlines, public health efforts should advise limiting sugar intake, the study concludes.
The findings were reported at the American Heart Association's Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism/Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention scientific sessions.