Teens Drinking More Soda: Food Survey

Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 02:27 PM

By Nick Tate

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Teens aren't getting the message about the dangers of sugary drinks, according to a new study of California adolescents.
 
Scientists at the University of California-Los Angeles report that a survey of 40,000 state households indicates consumption of soda and other sugary drinks has declined slightly among young children since 2005, but the popularity of such beverages has increased by an "alarming" 8 percent among adolescents — the biggest consumers.
 
The study, "Still Bubbling Over: California Adolescents Drinking More Soda and Other Sugar-Sweetened Beverages," analyzed beverage consumption among 2- to 17-year-olds between 2005 and 12.
 
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Among the findings:
  • There was a dramatic drop in the proportion of young children drinking sugary beverages over the seven-year period — with only 19 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds consuming sweetened drinks daily, a 30 percent decline since 2005.
  • Among 6- to 11-year-olds, 32 percent were daily consumers in 2012, representing a 26 percent drop since 2005.
  • There has been a significant rise among the biggest consumers of sugary drinks — 12- to 17-year-olds — with 65 percent drinking sugary beverages daily, up from 57 percent in 2005.
  • Two out of three adolescents say they drink soda, while 23 percent choose energy and sports drinks every day.
"California has made real progress in reducing the consumption of sugary beverages among young children," said lead researcher Susan Babey, M.D. "But teens are in trouble. Soda or sports drinks should be an occasional treat, not a daily habit. If this trend isn't reversed, there may be costly consequences for teens, their families and the health care system in the form of increased obesity and diabetes."
 
The researchers noted sugary drinks are the biggest source of added sugar in the diets of children and adolescents, and a primary contributor to the nation's obesity epidemic.
 
"Soda and other sugary drinks contribute half a billion empty calories a day to California's costly childhood obesity crisis," said Robert Ross, M.D., 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."
 
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