The next time you add a heaping helping of sugar to your child’s 64-ounce Mello Yello to keep him amped enough to finish Skyrim in one sitting, keep the findings of a recent study in mind: Sugary drinks can make kids obese.
While it has been scientifically proven that sugary drinks — sodas and ’sports’ drinks but hopefully not sweet tea — can cause obesity in adults and teens, it seems no one had ever gotten a grant to study the effects of high fructose corn syrup chugging on younger humans.
Until Dr. Mark DeBoer from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville came along that is.
His quote may startle the parents of chubby children: “[The] additional amount of calories did contribute to more weight gain over time,” said DeBoer.
The study looked at 9,600 children born in 2001. Researchers checked up on the kids when they were 2, 4 and 5 years old.
About 10 percent of the children consumed a sugary drink each day.
Researchers said 5-year-olds who had at least one sugary drink each day were 43 percent more likely to be obese than those who didn’t. In all, about 15 percent of the 5-year-old children were considered obese. (The CDC says more than a third of all adults are obese.)
The obese children were more also likely to have an overweight mother and watch at least two hours of TV each day at age four and five, Reuters reports.
Researchers say sugary drinks don’t satisfy the appetite like foods with proteins and fat, so people keep consuming more calories.
Dr. Y. Claire Wang, who studies childhood nutrition and obesity at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York, said she, like most of humanity, wasn’t surprised by the findings.
“This is really just adding to the evidence we already know that [drinking] sugar-sweetened beverages in childhood is associated with weight gain. It’s definitely one of the major, if not the main, driver in childhood obesity,” Wang, who wasn’t involved in the new research, said.
DeBoer suggests kids stick to water and milk.
Wang recommended whole fruits over fruit drinks and juices, which often have added sugar.
The soda industry says obesity is due to an imbalance between calories consumed and calories burned.
In other news, kids don’t go outside like we used to.