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Children's consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages
Date:6/2/2008

June 2, 2008--A recent study published in Pediatrics and led by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are an increasingly large part of children and teens' diets. Teens who consume SSBs, which include sodas, fruit drinks and punches, and sports drinks, drink an average of 356 calories per day, a significant increase from 10 years earlier. The findings suggest that reducing empty caloric intake by limiting these drinks may be a key strategy for promoting healthy eating and preventing excess weight gain.

Comparing data from two time periods, 1988-1994 and 1999-2004, the study showed that over-consumption of sugary beverages is widespread, with 84 percent of teens consuming SSBs on a typical day. An adolescent male who consumes the average amount of SSBs per day (356 calories) would need to jog for an hour or walk for more than three hours to burn off these excess calories. The study also showed that the number of SSB calories consumed by children ages two to five and six to 11 increased from the previous decade. In particular, the study shows that children ages six to 11 consumed 20 percent more calories from sugar-sweetened beverages in 1999-2004 compared with the 1988 to 1994 period. The study also noted a more rapid increase in SSB calorie consumption among Black and Mexican American youth.

Growing evidence indicates that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in children and teens may be contributing to rising obesity rates in the United States. A 2006 Pediatrics study published by the same authors indicates that there is an energy gap contributing to the obesity epidemic. This energy gapor the imbalance between the calories children take in each day and the calories they expend to support normal growth, physical activity, and body functionis about 110-165 excess calories per day. The latest Pediatrics study on sugar-sweetened beverages supports limiting intake of calor
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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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