Kids who don’t drink water consume more sweetened beverages One in five kids don't drink any water. (monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Thad Zajdowicz/Flickr)
Kids who don’t drink water consume more sweetened beverages
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The American Academy of Pediatrics has called for taxes to be put in place. The taxes are on sugary drinks. It was a sign of growing concern. The concern is over the amount of sugar kids are drinking. They get them from sodas. They get them from sweetened juices. And they get them from other beverages. 

It is a worrying indicator. It shows the nation's sugary drink fixation. A new study has found that one in five children reported not drinking any water. That's on any given day. It also showed that those kids drink more calories from sweetened beverages. That's compared to kids who did drink water. That's according to Reuters' Lisa Rapaport.

The report was published in JAMA Pediatrics. It looked at nationally representative data. It was from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It offered information. It was on 8,400 children. They were between the ages of two and 19. 

Included in the survey were data on kids' water consumption. And on their sweetened beverage consumption. It also included information about caloric intake. These came from sugary drinks. And it showed the percent of total calories that came from these drinks.

Researchers found that around 20 percent of children reported drinking no water. That's throughout the day. They consumed almost twice as many calories. That's compared to kids who did drink some water. The young study participants drank 132 calories. These came from sodas. They also came from other sugary beverages. That's per day. That number dropped to 112 calories with any intake of water. Kids who didn't drink any water took in an average of 210 calories. These came from sweetened drinks.

"Adjusting for sociodemographic variables," the study authors write, "no water intake was associated with intake of 92.9 ... more calories from [sugar-sweetened beverages] among participants aged 2 to 19 years."

Those extra calories don't provide much in the way of nutritional value. And they can add up. That's according to Asher Rosinger. He is the lead study author. He is the director of the Water, Health, and Nutrition Lab. It is at Penn State. 

"What you have to remember is that an extra 3,500 calories equals one pound of weight gain," Rosinger says. "So, if you're not compensating for those extra calories, then over a month, you can potentially gain a pound."

Sugary drinks have been linked to a number of issues. These include childhood obesity. It includes type 2 diabetes. It includes dental problems. And it includes high cholesterol. 

"I've seen 2-year-olds with fatty liver disease and teenagers with Type 2 diabetes," said Natalie Muth. She is a pediatrician. She is from California. She spoke to Andrew Jacobs. He works at the New York Times. "These are diseases we used to see in their grandparents."

The new study doesn't fully prove that drinking less water prompts kids to drink more soda. It also doesn't prove the opposite. That's what Gizmodo's Ed Cara notes. It does suggest that there may be a relationship. It suggests that adults should encourage kids to drink water. That's so they don't swap it for something less healthful.

"Kids should consume water every single day. And the first beverage option for kids should be water," said to Rosinger. "Because if they're not drinking water, they're probably going to replace it with other beverages, like sugar-sweetened beverages, that are less healthy and have more calories."

The research does not account for the complex reasons why some children may not be drinking enough water. That's what the study authors note. Sera Young reported for Scientific American. She said reports of water contamination are on the rise in the United States. This contamination is from lead or copper.  

Runoff from fertilizer is contaminating wells. That's in rural parts of the country. Some families have their water shut off. That's because they struggle to pay the bills.
Boosting water intake among children may reduce their consumption of sweetened beverages. But it isn't just about promoting water over sugary drinks. 

"Increasing access to safe, free water," the study authors write, "is critical for childhood health."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What do you think could be done to cut down on the number of sweetened beverages consumed by kids?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (14)
  • bostonb-hol
    9/06/2019 - 09:10 a.m.

    I think we should show kids really bad sweetened beverages are. If the kids were able to see what goes in these drinks with their own eyes it could really change how they see these drinks and if they want to drink it.

  • sages-hol
    9/06/2019 - 09:13 a.m.

    I think that they should trick kids into drinking plain water out of a can. Some kids just like drinking out of the can.It helps make kids not have any diseases from sugary drinks. They become so addicting, to the point were kids can't go without it. If you don't put the caffeine or fizz in the drink there is a less likely of a chance for kids to get addicted to it. You can make flavored water without the fizz and caffeine and make it taste the exact same. Making kids more aware of what sugary drinks can do to them can also prevent it.

  • thomass-hol4
    9/06/2019 - 09:13 a.m.

    They need to make drinks that taste good without sugar. There are so many things that can do it but it will be hard.

  • jordans-hol3
    9/06/2019 - 09:17 a.m.

    I believe that the companies who make the beverages like Coke could make them differently. For example, they could change an ingredient in them to make them not as bad for you with tons of calories. Something like a diet coke but even healthier.

  • bradyu-hol
    9/06/2019 - 09:17 a.m.

    To cut back on sweeten beverages, i think they should make an age limit to drink it or sell diet drinks cheaper and regular drinks more expensive.

  • johnc-hol1
    9/06/2019 - 09:18 a.m.

    You could stop making them in general. They can use the factory's that made the the sugary beverages and turn them into water plants.

  • ethanb-hol3
    9/06/2019 - 09:19 a.m.

    I think the best way to cut down sugary drink intake is to use higher taxes. If they cost more money people are less likely to buy them for their children.

  • ellab-hol2
    9/06/2019 - 09:20 a.m.

    To cut down the sweetened beverages consumed by kids we need to show and explain the outcome to parents on what happens when so much sugar is being taken in from sugary beverages. Like Brigit Katz said, when kids ask for a drink the first option that should be said is water. With so much intake on sugary beverages, kids will be open to the possibility on having type 2 diabetes and/ or obesity.

  • graciej-hol
    9/06/2019 - 09:20 a.m.

    They could make soda more expensive and make a bottle of water less than 2 dollars.

  • masonv-hol
    9/06/2019 - 09:24 a.m.

    I think that decreasing the amount of sugary and/or sweetened beverages that can be found in the vending machines at areas such as schools, rest areas and restaurants. This may cause the water intake to increase. The water intake increase might allow more exercises to be performed.

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