The pre-schoolers weren’t necessarily drinking soda. Kool-Aid also is a sugar-sweetened beverage. (Dimmerswitch/Flickr)
Adults have been studied; teens have been studied; other school-age children have been studied. And the evidence shows pretty conclusively that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to increased risk of obesity.
But one group has not been studied so much: pre-school aged kids. In a major new study released today in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that, yes, sugar-sweetened beverages also put such very young children at greater risk for obesity.
About one in 10 children drank one or more servings of sugar-sweetened beverages daily.
Specifically, researchers followed 9,600 children (in other words, a really big sample) from birth to age 5. It’s this kind of “longitudinal” approach that gives this study a great deal of research power. “We were more interested in looking at children over a period of time,” said lead author Mark DeBoer, in the department of pediatrics at the University of Virginia. He says they wanted to see whether those children who drank sugary drinks were more likely to gain an unhealthy amount of weight over those who didn’t. Continue reading