Children and Sweetened Drinks: What's a Parent to Do?
Trying to trim the sweetened drinks in your child's diet? Here are a few tips that can help.
Children and Sweet Drinks: The Health Crisis continued...
That's not all. Soft drinks are rotting kids' teeth, as numerous studies
have shown. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, soft drinks pose a
risk of dental caries because of their high sugar content and enamel erosion
because of their acidity.And, because kids are drinking more sweetened
beverages than milk, they are getting too little calcium for growing teeth and
bones, reports the CSPI. That's especially important for growing girls, who are
at highest risk of osteoporosis.
The final analysis? Kids need to know that sweetened beverages are bad for
their health, say the experts.
That's where parents can make the most difference. By educating kids on the
hazards of soft drinks and other sweet drinks -- and stocking the kitchen with
the right drinks -- it's possible to short-circuit the connection between
children and soft drinks.
Children and Soft Drinks: Making Changes
For kids without a weight problem, one sweetened beverage per day -- as part
of a well-balanced diet -- is fine, says Sarah Krieger, RD, LD, MPH, a
spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "If children are
maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and are active, one soda
The American Beverage Association agrees. "No single food or beverage is
a unique contributor to obesity," says Tracey Halliday, a spokeswoman for
the association. "Obesity is a serious and complex problem that is best
addressed by living a balanced lifestyle -- consuming a variety of foods and
beverages in moderation and getting regular physical activity. Quite simply,
all calories count, regardless of the source."
If your child has a tendency to gain weight, however, it's best to keep
these beverages out of the house. "Keep it for parties, since for most
young kids that's about once a week," says Krieger, who is also lead
instructor for children's weight management classes at All Children's Hospital
in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Also, limit other sweet drinks -- including 100% fruit juice. "Yes it's
healthy, but it can have as many calories as a soda. One serving a day is OK,
but that's all," she says.