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What Kids Drink at 5 Could Affect Weight at 15

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Reuters: Parents may be setting their daughters up for weight problems simply by allowing them to drink two or more sweetened drinks daily while young, study findings hint.

girl drinking apple juice
Higher sweetened beverage intake, such as sodas and fruit and sport drinks, at age 5 years was linked to more body fat during the following 10 years, Dr. Laura Fiorito, at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park, told Reuters Health in an email.

Higher body fat during the teen years has been tied to long-term overweight and other health problems such as diabetes and later heart disease, Fiorito and colleagues note in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Fiorito's team looked at what 166 non-Hispanic white girls drank between the ages of 5 and 15. They also measured their weight, height, and body fat.

Body fat and weight did not vary depending on how much milk or juice made from 100 percent fruit the girls drank.

By contrast, after allowing for other factors tied to weight and body fat levels, girls who drank two or more sweetened drinks daily had higher percentages of body fat, weighed more, and were more likely to be overweight than girls who drank lesser amounts of such beverages.

For example, of the 5 and 15 year old girls drinking less than one drink, the researchers found about 16 and 19 percent overweight, respectively. Among those drinking 2 or more sweetened drinks, about 39 percent were overweight at 5 years, while and 32 percent were the same when 15 years old.

Therefore, caregivers of young children should substitute sweetened drinks with reduced-fat milk and water, Fiorito and colleagues conclude.

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2 comments so far | Post a comment now
jen November 11, 2009, 9:05 AM

I can never understand why parents let their children drink soda. All moms have a pet peeve about other parenting styles and mine is definitely soda or anything with caffeine in it. Why, oh why, does your one year need coke with their dinner or your two year old need a frappuccino while your shopping at target? I just don’t understand. Soda has phosphorus in it, when too much is in the blood, calcium is leached from the bones, causing osteoporosis. Caffine causes dehydration and depletion of minerals. I just don’t understand..

Anonymous November 11, 2009, 9:43 AM

How about parents that go out to eat and let their kid order a soda with breakfast. yuk!

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