A new study conducted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that drinking sugary beverages or being even mildly sleep-deprived could significantly increase a person’s risk of developing a serious case of the coronavirus and being hospitalized.
The study, which was released by the CDC earlier this month, investigated close to 500 confirmed COVID cases among US military personnel from March 2020 to March 2021, isolating possible confounding variables to compare cases which required hospitalization with those that did not.
A total of 93 hospitalizations for COVID-19 among Air Force personnel were matched up with 372 cases among Air Force service members which did not require hospitalization.
Cases were matched based on geography, with researchers using logistic regression to compared cases and controls based on self-reports of number of hours slept, physical activity, diet and alcohol consumption, and tobacco use.
The researchers also probed the influence of gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic factors, along with body-mass index, fitness levels, and disease history, removing these factors to create an adjusted odds ratio, thus estimating the influence of sugary beverage consumption and mild sleep deprivation in isolation of other factors.
In both cases, researchers found a strong association with hospitalization after being infected with the coronavirus.
Specifically, Air Force personnel were found to have a 74% greater likelihood of requiring hospitalization once they were infected with COVID, if they consumed three or more sugar-sweetened drinks per week. Service members who drank sugar-sweetened drinks less than three times a week were used as the baseline.
In the case of sleep, subjects who reported sleeping less than seven hours per night on average were 84% more likely to require hospitalization once infected with COVID. Service members who reported sleeping an average of seven to nine hours per night were used as the baseline.