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Income, 'screen time' affect soda, junk food consumption
Date:8/22/2012

(Edmonton) Preschoolers from low-income neighbourhoods and kids who spend more than two hours a day in front of a TV or video-game console have at least one thing in common: a thirst for sugary soda and juice, according to research from the University of Alberta.

Researchers from the faculties of Physical Education and Recreation, School of Public Health and Medicine & Dentistry surveyed parents to assess the dietary habits of 1,800 preschoolers in the Edmonton region as part of a larger study on diet, physical activity and obesity.

Researchers found that 54.5 per cent of four- and five-year-olds from poorer neighbourhoods drank at least one soda per weekfar more than the 40.8 per cent of kids from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. Preschoolers from low-income areas also drank less milk and consumed more fruit juice, which, like soda, is linked to rising sugar intake associated with childhood obesity.

"When you're looking at that age group, and such a large percentage of very young kids in the study are consuming a large amount of soda, it's quite concerning," said study co-author Kate Storey, a registered dietitian and assistant professor in the School of Public Health.

"If you're drinking a lot of soda and fruit juice, that can displace consumption of water and milk, which are important not just for quenching thirst, but for developing healthy bones and teeth, and health and wellness in general."

The study, part of a larger project looking at nutritional habits of preschoolers, is among the first to gather data on children of such an early age.

Screen time and sugar

Researchers found similar drinking habits among preschoolers who spent more than two hours of "screen time" per daywatching TV or playing video games. Kids from poorer neighbourhoods sat in front of screens more often, and drank larger volumes of sweetened beverages.

"Dietary behaviour and intake patterns are influenced
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Contact: Bryan Alary
bryan.alary@ualberta.ca
780-492-0436
University of Alberta
Source:Eurekalert

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