Half of Americans drink a soda or sugary beverage each day -- and some are downing a lot.
One in 20 people drinks the equivalent of more than four cans of soda each day, even though health officials say sweetened beverages should be limited to less than half a can.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the figures in a report said to be the government's first to offer national statistics for adults and kids.
Sweetened drinks have been linked to the U.S. explosion in obesity and related medical problems, and health officials have been urging people to cut back for years.
The new CDC report found:
• About half the population drinks a sugared beverage each day.
• Males consume more than females, with teenage boys leading the pack. On average, males ages 12 through 19 drink the equivalent of nearly two cans of soda each day.
Healthy-eating recommendations call for people to limit sugary beverages to about 64 calories per day. That's a little less than half of a 12-ounce can of regular Coca-Cola, which is 140 calories. An average can of sugared soda or fruit juice contains 10 to 12 teaspons of sugar.
There have been efforts to reduce children's access to sodas and sports drinks in schools, with beverage companies agreeing to remove full-calorie soft drinks. But the CDC study found more than half of the drinks are consumed at home. Less than 1 percent are bought at schools or day care centers.