Parents may be setting
their daughters up for weight problems simply by allowing them to drink
two or more sweetened drinks daily while young, study findings hint.
Higher sweetened beverage intake,
such as sodas and fruit and sport drinks, at age 5 years was linked to
more body fat during the following 10 years, Dr. Laura Fiorito, at The
Pennsylvania State University in University Park, told Reuters Health
in an email.
Higher body fat during the teen years
has been tied to long-term overweight and other health problems such as
diabetes and later heart disease, Fiorito and colleagues note in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Fiorito's team looked at what 166
non-Hispanic white girls drank between the ages of 5 and 15. They also
measured their weight, height, and body fat.
Body fat and weight did not vary depending on how much milk or juice made from 100 percent fruit the girls drank.
By contrast, after allowing for other
factors tied to weight and body fat levels, girls who drank two or more
sweetened drinks daily had higher percentages of body fat, weighed
more, and were more likely to be overweight than girls who drank lesser
amounts of such beverages.
For example, of the 5 and 15 year old
girls drinking less than one drink, the researchers found about 16 and
19 percent overweight, respectively. Among those drinking 2 or more
sweetened drinks, about 39 percent were overweight at 5 years, while
and 32 percent were the same when 15 years old.
Therefore, caregivers of young
children should substitute sweetened drinks with reduced-fat milk and
water, Fiorito and colleagues conclude.