Do sugar-sweetened beverages cause adverse health outcomes in children? A systematic review protocol

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  • Background Cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes are examples of chronic diseases that impose significant morbidity and mortality in the general population worldwide. Most chronic diseases are associated with underlying preventable risk factors, such as elevated blood pressure, high blood glucose or glucose intolerance, high lipid levels, physical inactivity, excessive sedentary behaviours, and overweight/obesity. The occurrence of intermediate outcomes during childhood increases the risk of disease in adulthood. Sugar-sweetened beverages are known to be significant sources of additional caloric intake, and given recent attention to their contribution in the development of chronic diseases, a systematic review is warranted. We will assess whether the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in children is associated with adverse health outcomes and what the potential moderating factors are. Methods/Design Of interest are studies addressing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, taking a broad perspective. Both direct consumption studies as well as those evaluating interventions that influence consumption (e.g. school policy, educational) will be relevant. Non-specific or multi-faceted behavioural, educational, or policy interventions may also be included subject to the level of evidence that exists for the other interventions/exposures. Comparisons of interest and endpoints of interest are pre-specified. We will include randomized controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, interrupted time series studies, controlled before-after studies, prospective and retrospective comparative cohort studies, case–control studies, and nested case–control designs. The MEDLINE®, Embase, The Cochrane Library, CINAHL, ERIC, and PsycINFO® databases and grey literature sources will be searched. The processes for selecting studies, abstracting data, and resolving conflicts are described. We will assess risk of bias using design-specific tools. To determine sets of confounding variables that should be adjusted for, we have developed causal directed acyclic graphs and will use those to inform our risk of bias assessments. Meta-analysis will be conducted where appropriate; parameters for exploring statistical heterogeneity and effect modifiers are pre-specified. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach will be used to determine the quality of evidence for outcomes.

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    Attribution 4.0 International
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    • Stevens, A., Hamel, C., Singh, K., Ansari, M. T., Myers, E., Ziegler, P., Hutton, B., Sharma, A., Bjerre, L. M., Fenton, S., Gow, R., Hadjiyannakis, S., O'Hara, K., Pound, C., Salewski, E., Shrier, I., Willows, N., Moher, D., & Tremblay, M. (2014). Do sugar-sweetened beverages cause adverse health outcomes in children? A systematic review protocol. Systematic Reviews, 3(96), [10 pages].
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