Last year The PediaBlog highlighted a number of studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine linking the consumption of sugar/high-fructose corn syrup-sweetened beverages to obesity (“Sugar-Sweetened Beverages,” September 25, 2012). Now there is a new study, published in Pediatrics, confirming that link in small children:
Preschool-aged and kindergarten children drinking SSB compared with infrequent/nondrinkers had higher BMI scores. SSB consumption is also associated with higher weight status among children aged 2 to 5 years.
Cole Petrochko reviews the study and commentary:
In an accompanying editorial, Anisha Patel, MD, and Lorrene Ritchie, PhD, of the University of California (UC) San Francisco and UC Berkeley, pointed out that the current study “emphasizes the hazards of the vacuum in [sugar-sweetened beverage] policy solutions targeting young children.”
They suggested a number of policy interventions that could be helpful for this age group, including:
- Wider scopes for restrictions in childcare and community settings for sugary drinks
- Dissemination of best practices and education
- Training on beverages for parents and children
- Accountable limits on sugary drinks in dietary guidelines
- Industry-aided strategies for health promotion and drinking water instead of sugary drinks
“Isn’t it time to effect meaningful policies and implementation strategies to curb [sugar-sweetened beverage] consumption in our youngest children?,” they concluded.
Many parents understand the role of sugar — especially in beverages — in the development of obesity, and try really hard to limit their children’s intake. In the next few years, we’ll see if enough parents are getting the message.