Tuesday, August 6th, 2013
Children as young as five are at a heightened risk of being obese if they regularly drink sugary beverages such as sodas, juices, and sports drinks, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Children who drink sweet drinks less often are less likely to be obese, according to the study. More from Reuters:
Although the link between sugary drinks and extra weight has been well documented among teens and adults, researchers said that up until now, the evidence was less clear for young children.
“Even though sugar-sweetened beverages are relatively a small percentage of the calories that children take in, that additional amount of calories did contribute to more weight gain over time,” said Dr. Mark DeBoer, who led the study at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
He and his colleagues surveyed the parents of a nationally-representative group of 9,600 children when the kids were two, four and five years old. The children were all born in 2001. Parents reported on their income and education, as well as how often children drank sugary beverages and watched TV.
The children and their mothers were weighed at each survey visit.
The proportion of kids who had at least one soda, sports drink or sugar-sweetened juice drink each day ranged from 9 to 13 percent, depending on their age.
Those children were more likely to have an overweight mother and to watch at least two hours of TV each day at age four and five.
After accounting for those influences as well as families’ socioeconomic status, the researchers found five-year-olds who had at least one sugary drink each day were 43 percent more likely to be obese than those who drank the beverages less frequently or not at all.
Kids were considered obese if they had a body mass index – a measure of weight in relation to height – above the 95th percentile for their age and gender, as calculated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Image: Child drinking sweet beverage, via Shutterstock
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Monday, February 4th, 2013
The popular squeezable baby food snacks that allow babies and toddlers to suck pureed food directly form foil pouches may actually be harmful to growing teeth, according to a statement from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). The new statements about the pouches, which were launched in 2008 by Plum Organics and now are made by a number of baby food brands, makes similar recommendations to what the AAPD already says about babies who walk around with milk- or juice-filled sippy cups. More from NPR.org:
“The constant exposure of sugar on their teeth is detrimental,” says Paul Casamassimo, the oral health research and policy center director at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. “My concern would be if the child walks around with this little pouch, then they might be doing the same thing,” he says.
In fact, the academy recommends ditching the sippy cup and going straight from bottle to cup between 12 and 15 months because of the potential risk of tooth decay. Casamassimo calls them “baby bottle methadone.”
Carbohydrates in all foods are used by bacteria to produce acid, and the acid eats away at the enamel of the teeth, creating the potential for cavities — a growing problem among all children, he says.
And the pouch food, because of its consistency, may be particularly tough on teeth if it’s allowed to sit there for long periods. “We know that tends to stick on teeth and prolong the opportunity for the bacteria to build,” he says.
Brushing kids’ teeth twice a day and making them rinse with water after eating the pouch foods or drinking juice can help, Cassamassimo says.
Image: Smiling toddler, via Shutterstock
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Friday, June 1st, 2012
Large sodas and other sugary beverages will no longer be allowed in New York City if a new proposal gains approval by the Board of Health. The Associated Press reports:
The proposed first-in-the-nation ban would impose a 16-ounce limit on the size of sweetened drinks sold at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts. It would apply to bottled drinks as well as fountain sodas.
The ban, which could take effect as soon as March, would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks or alcoholic beverages. Nor would it include drinks sold in grocery or convenience stores. Food establishments that don’t downsize would face fines of $200.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday that he ‘‘thinks it’s what the public wants the mayor to do.’’
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sodas and sugary juices are two of the six biggest culprits when it comes to the empty calories that are causing the American obesity epidemic.
Image: Large soft drink, via Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
The Food and Drug Administration has found traces of the unapproved fungicide carbendazim in orange juice and orange juice concentrate from both Canada and Brazil, and the agency has detained shipments of the products.
Two weeks ago, Coca-Cola found trace amounts of the fungicide in its own and a competitor’s brand of juice, and later last month, the FDA temporarily halted all orange juice imports while it attempted to isolate the problem. Carbendazim was banned in the U.S. in 2009.
CNN.com reports that the FDA says it will continue to analyze all incoming shipments, not allowing even trace elements of the fungicide.
Image: Orange, via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, September 15th, 2011
In response to a segment that aired this week on The Dr. Oz Show, the health-themed program hosted by integrative physician Dr. Mehmet Oz, The Food and Drug Administration has released a statement defending its policy of allowing trace amounts of arsenic into apple juice.
Dr. Oz conducted laboratory studies on several brands of apple juice, including one made by Gerber. The FDA allows an arsenic level of 23 parts per billion in apple juice products. One of the Gerber brand juices tested at 36 parts per billion in Dr. Oz’s study.
But Dr. Oz based his measurements on “total arsenic,” rather than specifying organic and inorganic arsenic compounds. Scientists liken the two types of arsenic to cholesterol, which has “good” and “bad” types that should be measured separately.
In a letter to the Dr. Oz Show’s producers, FDA officials said, “It would be irresponsible and misleading for The Dr. Oz Show to suggest that apple juice contains unsafe amounts of arsenic based solely on tests for total arsenic.”
But Dr. Oz argues that the allowable level should be lowered to 10 parts per billion–the same level as is allowed in drinking water.
“As a doctor and a parent, it’s concerning to me that there could be toxins such as arsenic in juice we are giving to our kids,” Dr. Oz said in a press statement.
A registered dietitian and professor of nutrition told The Boston Globe that the debate only highlights a bigger issue–that kids should limit the amount of fruit juice in their diets.
“Children shouldn’t be drinking that much apple juice to begin with, certainly not to the extent that it replaces milk in their diet,” Joan Salge Blake told the Globe, adding that a whole piece of fruit — with all its fiber and nutrient-filled skin and pulp — is far better for us than the high-caloric juice that’s made from it.
(image via: http://www.infobarrel.com)
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