Parents need to be educated that sodas, energy drinks and fruit drinks are not healthy for children or teens, Heller said. "They are not healthy for anyone, actually," she added. "The food companies need to devote some resources to not only changing their marketing practices but also to reformulating at least some of their products to make them healthier."
In the meantime, parents need to stop bringing sugar-sweetened beverages into the home, Heller said. "There is no need to give a toddler soda or fruit drinks. They will be perfectly happy with water or low-fat milk or soy milk if that is what they are used to," she said. "And while your teens may complain that there are no more sodas or fruit drinks in the house, they will get used to it."
Because these findings were presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
For more information on healthy drinks for kids, visit the Nemours Foundation.
SOURCES: Susan K. Neely, president and CEO, American Beverage Association, Washington, D.C.; Samantha Heller, M.S., R.D., dietitian, nutritionist, exercise physiologist and clinical nutrition coordinator, Center for Cancer Care, Griffin Hospital, Derby, Conn.; Oct. 31, 2011, teleconference with: Jennifer Harris, director, marketing initiatives, and Marlene Schwartz, deputy director, Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
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