Preschoolers’ obesity linked to sugary drinks

Researchers have found that Preschoolers’ who consumed sugary drinks are more likely to gain excess weight than those who drink less sugar-sweetened beverages. According to the studies carried on by Mark DeBoer, MD, of the University of Virginia’s Department of Pediatrics in Charlottesville, among the four years old and five years old, a higher rate of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was associated with higher body mass index or BMI (BMI, P<0.05 and P<0.001, respectively). A higher odds ratio for obesity was seen at age 5 (1.43, 95% CI 1.10-1.85, P<0.01).

Even though the association for obesity was not seen in the in 2-years old but those who drank sugary drinks had a greater increase in BMI over the next two years as opposed to infrequent and non drinkers (P<0.05). This study was carried on by surveying the parents of a nationally representative group of 9,600 children when kids were two, four and five years old. The respective parents of these kids reported on their income, education and spoke about how often the children drank sugary beverages and watched television.

The final message that emerges from this study for practitioners and parents is to remain vigilant about children’s sugary consumption habits as noted by the Keith Ayoob, Ed.D, RD of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City. Sugary beverages has been linked with a host of health problems that include increased risks of genetic obesity, keeping on excess pounds in adults but little research has done to evaluate health risks of sodas and sport drinks in younger children. Kids were considered obese if they have body mass index or BMI above the 95th percentile for their age and gender as calculated by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. About 15% of five-years-old in the study was obese.

Health experts have also warned about shunning supposedly health fruit drinks that are loaded with sugar with some being almost as sweet as Coca Cola. A 200 ml of fruit drink bottle contains more than 16g or around four teaspoons of sugar per 100 ml and is equivalent to a Coke. The health and food campaign group Sustain observed that in the guise of healthy fruit drinks these are actually ‘mini-health time bombs’ contributing to obesity, rotten teeth, diabetes and other health problems among the children. Experts opine that water is the best option or solution as healthy alternative instead.

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