In spite of the health officials’ efforts to fight against obesity, a team of researchers revealed that most of the kids’ calorie intake is due to a tendency to start consuming sugary beverages at an early stage in their development. The unhealthy habit might come with long-term health complications, the researchers noted in their study which was published on January 26th, as a U.S. National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief.
In recent times, health experts have warned the U.S. population about the dangers associated with sugary beverages, soft drinks, and foods that contain added sugars, associating them with an early onset of type 2 diabetes, weight gain, heart disease, and high cholesterol.
The new study’s findings were based on data collected between 2011 and 2014 during a U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that approximately two-thirds of children with ages between 2 and 19 consume one or more sugary beverages a day. In percentage points, this adds up to more than seven percent of total calorie intake for children.
According to Asher Rosinger, CDC researcher, regular consumption of sugary beverages, including sweetened coffee and sports drinks, has been linked to tooth decay and heart disease among other health conditions. The researchers also noted that children between 12 and 19 were more likely to consume sugary beverages, but at this point it is not clear why that is.
Furthermore, the researchers also discovered that boys were more likely to take a special interest in these drinks rather than girls. Hence, approximately 65 percent of boys consumed at least one sugary drink per day from 2011 to 2014, while only 61 percent of girls engaged in the same behavior during the same time period.
However, the researchers say the study has its limitations since they did not focus on parental attitudes toward dietary guidelines or supervision, which could alter children’s behaviors. Nevertheless, the scientists did find ethnic and racial differences. Asians, for example, were less likely to consume sugary beverages than other groups.
Also, the researchers noted they did not focus on diet drinks, flavored milk, drinks with sweetener added by customers, or alcohol. However, sports drinks, fruit drinks, nectars with added sugars, regular soda, tea, energy drinks, coffee, and horchata were included in the study.
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