In the health conscious state of California, where sugary drink consumption for children under 8 has decreased, and adolescent consumption of the beverages has increased by 8%. A study released today conducted through interviews by the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) found the mixed results.
Only 19% of children ages 2-5 consumed a sugary drink daily, a 30 % decrease from 2005-2007. Among 6-12 year olds, 32% consumed one daily, a 26% drop from before.
There was a reported rise in consumption among adolescents. Sixty-five percent imbibed daily, an 8% increase from previous reports. The same proportion of youth is drinking soda, and 23 percent more are consuming energy and sports drinks every day.
Dr. Susan Babey, the study’s lead author, noted that teens are in trouble. “Soda and spots drinks should be consumed on occasion, not a daily basis,” she said.
Authors concluded that parents are becoming better educated about the harm of sugary drink consumption for children. The rate has decreased for young children because better educated parents are able to control food consumption in younger children. Teens, however, are more independent of parental control, and food choice is one area where they often make more independent decisions.
The study found that sugary drink consumption is the largest source of added sugar in child diets and significantly contributes to high calorie intake that has no nutritional value.
Nearly 40% of California’s youth is overweight, including and one third of all children born in 2000, including half of Latino and African American children, will develop diabetes sometime in their lives.
The most dramatic growth in consumption, 31 percent, was reported by Asian adolescents, who climbed from one of the lowest levels among ethnic groups of 48 percent to 63 percent reporting drinking at least one sugary beverage a day.
“Soda and other sugary drinks contribute half a billion empty calories a day to California’s costly childhood obesity crisis,” explains Dr. Robert Ross, president and CEO of The California Endowment, which funded the study. “We have to redouble our efforts to protect our children, especially adolescents and children of color, from the unbridled marketing of high calorie drinks that is drowning our kids in sugar.”
Read the full study here.
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