Although sugar-sweetened beverage consumption has been linked to weight status in older children, its effect on preschoolers has been less clear. The study, “Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain in 2- to5-Year-Old Children,” in the September 2013 Pediatrics (published online Aug. 5), found that 4- and 5-year-olds who drank one or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day, including soda, sports drinks or fruit drinks that are not 100 percent juice, were more likely to be overweight or obese. At age 2, there was not a link between sugary drinks and obesity, though these children had greater changes in their body mass index scores in the following two years than children who did not regularly drink sugary beverages at age 2. Researchers found regular drinkers of sugar-sweetened beverages also consumed less milk and were more likely to watch more than two hours of television daily. Study authors conclude that parents and caregivers should be discouraged from providing their children with sugar-sweetened beverages, and should instead offer them calorie-free beverages and milk.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.