Rise in Sweetened Beverage Intake Among U.S. Youth

June 4, 2008

Reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juices and changing parental interventions are potentially important factors in reducing obesity in children and adolescents, two studies report in the June issue of Pediatrics.

WEDNESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juices and changing parental interventions are potentially important factors in reducing obesity in children and adolescents, two studies report in the June issue of Pediatrics.

Y. Claire Wang, M.D., of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, and colleagues found a rise in sweetened beverage consumption and 100 percent fruit juices among children and adolescents between 1988 and 2004. Data was collected from a 24-hour dietary recall included in two nationally representative population surveys that together comprised over 20,000 youths. Children and adolescents currently derive 10 to 15 percent of their total caloric intake from sugar-sweetened beverages and 100 percent fruit juice, the researchers found. Most sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among U.S. youths occurred at home, with relatively low levels purchased or consumed in schools, they report.

Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, conducted a cross-sectional study of 314 pairs of parents and overweight adolescents (body mass index ≥ 85th percentile for age/gender) and longitudinal analyses of 170 of these pairs. Parents who accurately recognized that their child was overweight were more likely to encourage the child to diet, which was associated with poor long-term weight outcomes, the researchers found. These parents were not more likely, however, to engage in other, potentially more effective changes, such as encouraging their child to eat more fruit/vegetables, avoid keeping soft drinks and candy in the home, and watching less television during dinner.

"It is important to know what parents do when they recognize that their children are overweight," Neumark-Sztainer's team writes. "Instead of focusing on weight per se, it may be more helpful to direct efforts toward helping parents provide a home environment that supports healthful eating, physical activity and well-being."

Abstract - WangFull TextAbstract - Neumark-SztainerFull Text

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