Obesity and Soft Drinks - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/5/03

Obesity and Soft Drinks

How many sugared soft drinks (including Hawaiian Punch, sweetened ice tea, and Kool Aid) do your kids drink every day? According to a number of dieticians, one 12 ounce drink should be the absolute limit.

These sweetened drinks may be contributing to the fact that obesity in children increased 100% between 1980 and 1994. In two year study in Massachusetts, researchers found that kids who increased their soft drink intake by even one serving per day were 60% more likely to become obese.

Money can influence many people. According the American Medical Association, 240 school districts across the country have contracts with beverage companies. In tight economic times these contracts become very tempting.

The soft drink industry is directly targeting children through ads on school TV stations and the placement of soft drink machines in schools. They try to develop brand loyalty at an early age. But the habit begins at home

Unfortunately, even the American Dietetic Association accepted $25,000 from the National Soft Drink Association to place a "fact sheet" in their journal to put a positive spin on soft drinks and kids. Many members of this organization were very upset.

The average soft drink serving used to be 6 ounces. Now a 20 ounce serving is not uncommon. The 20 ounce bottle of sugared soft drink contains 250 calories and about 17 teaspoons of sugar. Of course, they also contain, natural and artificial flavor and often caffeine.

While soft drinks may provide hydration, so does water. While I may not be a fan of bottled water and some of the "athletic" drinks, a flavored water may not contain all the sugar found in soft drinks.

Next time your children ask for a soft drink, you may want to think about obesity, Type II Diabetes, caffeine, and other things you may not want your kids to have.

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