The ever-expanding line of sugary drinks may actually be contributing to the obesity epidemic, especially when it comes to kids. Even one sugary drink per day can contribute to weight gain, which is why The Obesity Society is now recommending fewer sugar sweetened beverages for kids. This includes soda, sports drinks and any other beverages high in sugar.
Soda is certainly on the list of drinks that contribute to weight gain, but it is not the only one. Juice is marketed to young children and often pictures pieces of fruit on the label, but the marketing can be deceiving because it has just as much sugar as soda and is just as likely to promote obesity. Also, while The American Academy of Pediatrics has taken the stand that caffeinated energy drinks are not appropriate for kids and teens, the advertising for these products to teens continues to increase.
In light of the research published in JAMA Pediatrics, The Obesity Society has released a statement regarding their views on sugar sweetened beverages. It states that as many as six to seven percent of the calories consumed in the U.S. are strictly from sugary drinks. Diana Thomas, PhD is the director if the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research and a spokesperson for The Obesity Society. She noted the rise in childhood obesity and the correlation between overweight children and their consumption of these sugar sweetened beverages.
She concluded that, based in a review of existing research, sugary drinks have contributed to this rise. In an effort to reduce empty calories and follow a more nutritious diet plan, The Obesity Society suggests that children limit their sugary drinks and that adults cut back or avoid sugar sweetened drinks altogether.
Research shows that kids who have more sugary drinks also have a higher BMI. The largest randomized trial done on kids involved 641 participants. They were separated into two group, one of which had one sugary drink per day, while the other group has no sugary drinks at all. The group that has the sugar sweetened beverages gained more weight than those who did not.
Based on the review of this and similar studies, Dr. Thomas states that reducing the amount of sugar sweetened beverages that kids consume will have a direct effect on their weight loss and overall health. While The Obesity Society realizes that sugary drinks alone are not responsible for the obesity epidemic plaguing kids today and that there needs to be a well-rounded approach to helping kids lose weight and regain their health, cutting down on sugary drinks is a positive step in the right direction and someone families can actively work on immediately.
The Obesity Society is promoting water consumption, as they join the efforts of the American Medical Association, American Association of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and the Institute of Medicine in encouraging kids to reduce the number of sugar sweetened beverages they consume. Parents and doctors are urged to monitor the amount of sugary drinks that kids consume and educate them on healthy nutrition.
By Tracy Rose