The CDC researchers suggested that combating the popularity of sugar-sweetened drinks is crucial to the battle against childhood obesity. Teens should be encouraged to consume greater amounts of water and low and/or fat-free milk, alongside 100 percent fruit juice, they advised.
With respect to exercise, the CDC team called on schools, communities and health-care facilities to band together to promote physical activity while providing more places to exercise.
Dorothy Teegarden, a professor in the department of nutrition science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., who was not involved in the study, expressed little astonishment at the survey results.
"Overall, the U.S. drinking trend has seen Americans consuming more and more sugary drinks for quite a while," she said. "So I think placing an emphasis on encouraging teens to drink more milk or other kinds of non-high-fructose or non-sugary drinks is absolutely an appropriate and important approach."
Lona Sandon, a registered nurse and assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Dallas, echoed this sentiment.
"Nothing here is surprising," said Sandon, who was not involved in the study. "The problem is that physical activity is not required on a daily basis in most schools. And when that's the case kids are probably not exercising at all, unless they're involved in a sport."
Even if teens are involved in a sport, for many the sport may last only through the fall or spring, Sandon said. During the rest of the year, she said, what many are doing is plopping down in front of their computer screens and playing video games.
"The goal [for schools] should be to create more opportunities for teens to be physically active," she insisted. "And frankly, that might mean b
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