Monday, August 19th, 2013
A new study suggests that the more soda kids drink, the more likely they are to experience behavior problems.
Researchers analyzed data on nearly 3,000 5-year-olds from 20 large U.S. cities. Their mothers completed checklists about the children’s behaviors over the previous two months, and also told scientists about the children’s habits, such as their diets and how much TV they watched, explains the study’s lead author, Shakira Suglia, of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Here’s more from Reuters.com:
Aggressive behavior was measured on a scale between 0 and 100—with higher scores indicating more aggression. Suglia said the average score is 50, and 65 is usually used as a clinical marker of when children should be evaluated for a problem.
Kids who reportedly drank no soda scored 56 on the aggression scale, on average. That compared to 57 among kids who drank one serving per day, 58 among those who drank two servings, 59 among those who drank three servings and 62 for four soda servings or more per day.
After taking into account habits that may have influenced the results—such as how much TV the kids watched, how much candy they ate and their mother’s race and education—the researchers still found that drinking two or four or more servings of soda per day was tied to higher aggression scores.
Overall, kids who drank four or more servings of soda per day were twice as likely to destroy other people’s belongings, get into fights and physically attack people, compared to children who didn’t drink soda.
Soda drinkers also scored higher on scales measuring signs of withdrawal and attention problems, write the researchers in The Journal of Pediatrics.
Little boy drinking soda, via Shutterstock
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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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Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
A New York State Supreme Court judge has issued a decision striking down New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary drinks. In a move that is sure to get families talking about the relationship between sugary beverages and childhood obesity–and the government’s role in regulating both–State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling said that the rule is invalid because it isn’t applied consistently. More from The Associated Press:
‘‘The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of this rule,’’ Tingling wrote in a victory for the beverage industry, restaurants and other business groups that called the rule unfair and wrong-headed.
In addition, the judge said the Bloomberg-appointed Board of Health intruded on City Council’s authority when it imposed the rule.
The city vowed to appeal the decision, issued by New York state’s trial-level court.
‘‘We believe the judge is totally in error in how he interpreted the law, and we are confident we will win on appeal,’’ Bloomberg said. He added: ‘‘One of the cases we will make is that people are dying every day. This is not a joke. Five thousand people die of obesity every day in America.’’
For now, though, the ruling it means the ax won’t fall Tuesday on supersized sodas, sweetened teas and other high-sugar beverages in restaurants, movie theaters, corner delis and sports arenas.
‘‘The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban,’’ the American Beverage Association and other opponents said, adding that the organization is open to other ‘‘solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact.’’
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The first of its kind in the country, the restriction has sparked reaction from city streets to late-night talk shows, celebrated by some as a bold attempt to improve people’s health and derided by others as another ‘‘nanny state’’ law from Bloomberg during his 11 years in office.
Image: Sodas, via Shutterstock
Monday, October 15th, 2012
A new regulation in New York City that would limit the size of soft drinks to 16 ounces or fewer is the subject of a lawsuit filed late last week by a restaurant group and members of the soda industry. The New York Times reports:
“Legal action was widely anticipated from the soft-drink industry, which led an aggressive campaign this summer portraying [New York City Mayor Michael] Bloomberg’s plan as an affront to consumer freedom and has frequently opposed local regulations of its products.
The 61-page filing offers a detailed rebuttal to Mr. Bloomberg, arguing the soda restrictions are a form of de facto legislation, enacted by “executive fiat,” which should have been considered by the City Council. The plaintiffs say the rules represent “a dramatic departure” from the traditional role of the health department, and they are asking a judge to reject the size limits before they are put into effect.
The mayor’s chief spokesman, Marc La Vorgna, rejected those arguments on Friday, calling the lawsuit “baseless.” City health officials have argued that the plan can help curb runaway obesity rates in the city, where more than half of adults are overweight or obese.
“The Board of Health absolutely has the authority to regulate matters affecting health, and the obesity crisis killing nearly 6,000 New Yorkers a year — and impacting the lives of thousands more — unquestionably falls under its purview,” Mr. La Vorgna wrote in a statement.”
Image: Soda bottles, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
A new study suggests that pregnant women who drink sweet sodas regularly may be more likely to deliver their babies too early, Reuters reports.
Researchers studied more than 60,000 pregnant women in Norway and found that those who drank one sugar-sweetened soda a day were up to 25 percent more likely to give birth prematurely than those who avoided sugary drinks. And pregnant women who drank artificially sweetened sodas daily were 11 percent more likely to give birth prematurely than those who skipped sweet drinks. But it’s not clear if sodas themselves deserve the blame.
[T]he new findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cannot prove that sugary drinks cause preterm births. Lifestyle and other factors that go along with high sugar consumption may also play a role. Nutrition, maternal age, smoking, alcohol, obesity, chronic health problems like diabetes, and genetic conditions, have all been implicated in preterm birth.
The authors note in their report that women who drank the most sweetened drinks were also more likely to smoke, eat more calories, and have a higher body mass index (BMI) – a measure of weight relative to height – than those who drank fewer sugary drinks.
The researchers said they aren’t ready to recommend that pregnant women give up all sweetened soft drinks, but they do recommend that moms-to-be watch their sugar intake and eat more fruits and vegetables.
Image: Soft drink via Shutterstock.
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