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Sugary sports drinks mistakenly associated with being healthy, say UTHealth researchers
Date:9/27/2010

HOUSTON (Sept. 27, 2010) Children who practice healthy lifestyle habits such as eating fruits and vegetables and engaging in physical activity may be negatively impacting their health because they tend to consume large amounts of flavored and sports beverages containing sugar, according to research at The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

"Children and parents associate these drinks with a healthy lifestyle despite their increased amount of sugar and lack of nutritional value," said Nalini Ranjit, Ph.D., principal investigator and assistant professor of behavioral sciences at the UTHealth School of Public Health. The study will be published in the October issue of Pediatrics.

Researchers examined the association between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, unhealthy and healthy foods and physical activity levels of 8th and 11th grade Texas students to determine the relationship between beverage consumption and other behaviors. Sugar-sweetened beverages are drinks that contain added caloric sweeteners such as sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, including a large variety of carbonated and noncarbonated drinks but excluding 100 percent fruit juice.

Flavored or sports beverage drink consumption increased with levels of healthy food consumption and physical activity when compared to high soda consumption, which was associated with lower levels of these healthy behaviors.

"Sports drinks have been successfully marketed as beverages consistent with a healthy lifestyle, which has set them apart from sodas," said Ranjit, "However they have minimal fruit juice and contain unnecessary calories." Study results suggest there is a popular misperception of flavored and sports beverages being consistent with a healthy lifestyle, despite their sugary content.

Researchers in the study found that 28 percent of Texas children are consuming sug
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Contact: Jade Waddy
jade.waddy@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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