The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 (Eighth Edition), published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture, recommend water, low-fat or fat-free milk, and 100% fruit juices as the primary beverages for American consumers. Because of its contribution to child obesity’s many adverse health consequences, tooth decay, and poor bone health, sugar-sweetened beverages and soft drinks are discouraged by pediatricians. Steven Reinberg says a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that American parents are getting the message:
U.S. kids are drinking far more water than sodas and fruit drinks, health officials say.
A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that water accounts for almost half of kids’ total beverage consumption.
And together, water and milk comprised about two-thirds of the beverages consumed by Americans aged 2 o 19 between 2013 and 2016.
The findings add to growing evidence that consumption of sodas and other sweet drinks — a big source of sugar in Americans’ diets — has dropped in the past decade.
With nutritional experts calling most sugar-sweetened beverages “nutritionally bankrupt,” Reinberg breaks down the numbers in the CDC report:
Overall, the researchers found that water accounted for nearly 44 percent of all the beverages consumed. That was followed by milk (22 percent), soda (20 percent), 100-percent fruit juice (7 percent) and other drinks (8 percent).
As children age, they drink less milk and juice but more water and soda, the researchers found.
Reinberg addresses the ethnic and racial disparities in the numbers:
In terms of ethnicity/race, water comprised over 55 percent of fluids consumed by Asian children, versus 38 percent among black children and 40 percent among Hispanic kids. For white kids, the figure was 46 percent.
Heller said that “the disparity among race is disturbing, but not surprising, since research has found that there is aggressive marketing of sugar-sweetened beverages to younger people, especially black and Hispanic youths.”
A Yale University study found that in 2013, black children and teens saw more than twice as many television ads for sugary drinks than white kids, she said.
“Parents can help shield kids by limiting screen time, encouraging more physical activity and having healthy beverages, snacks and foods on hand,” Heller suggested.
More and more parents are doing just that, and that is very good news to hear the day following our sweetest holiday of the year.