Kids who don’t drink water consume more sweetened beverages
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 implemented on sugary drinks. It was a sign of growing concern over the amount of sugar kids are consuming. They are consuming them via sodas, sweetened juices and other beverages. In a worrying indicator of the nation's sugary drink fixation, a new study has found that one in five children reported not drinking any water on a given day. It also showed that those kids consumed more calories from sweetened beverages than kids who did drink water. That's according to Reuters' Lisa Rapaport.

The report, published in JAMA Pediatrics, analyzed nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It offered information on 8,400 children between the ages of two and 19. Included in the survey were data on kids' water and sweetened beverage consumption. It also included information about caloric intake from sugary drinks and the percent of total calories that came from these drinks.

Researchers found that around 20 percent of children reported drinking no water throughout the day. And they consumed almost twice as many calories, on average, than kids who did drink some water. Overall, the young study participants drank 132 calories of sodas and other sugary beverages per day. That number dropped to 112 calories with any intake of water. But kids who didn't drink any water took in an average of 210 calories 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, lead study author and director of the Water, Health, and Nutrition Lab 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, in fact, been linked to a number of issues. These include childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, dental problems and high cholesterol. 

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

The new study doesn't definitively prove that drinking less water prompts kids to drink more soda, or vice versa. That's what Gizmodo's Ed Cara notes. But it does suggest that there may be an inverse relationship. It suggests that adults should encourage kids to drink water 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," according 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 study authors note that the research does not account for the complex reasons why some children may not be drinking enough water. Sera Young reported for Scientific American that in the United States, reports of water contamination from lead or copper are on the rise. In rural parts of the country, runoff from fertilizer is contaminating wells. Some families have their water shut off 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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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

  • VDAMIAN-dal
    10/01/2019 - 09:28 a.m.

    I think that a lot of companies need to slow down on the soda making our else they need to find a solution on how to make sugary drinks less surgery.

    What surprised me most is that the less water you drink the more you get addicted to surgery drinks that is surprising to me.

    10/01/2019 - 09:28 a.m.

    make drinks that no sugar in it i with shocked that kid that do not drink water any took in an average of 210 calories from sweetened drinks.

  • ACODY-dal
    10/01/2019 - 09:28 a.m.

    I think that at school they should give you water and you have to get because a ton of people go to school and that means that all of the kids the buy lunch can drink the water. I never thought that kids would not drink water.

  • GCOHEN-dal
    10/01/2019 - 11:02 a.m.

    We could limit the amount of soda we put into our refrigerators. I was shocked that 1 out of 5 kids are not drinking water every day.

  • SELLE-dal
    10/01/2019 - 11:03 a.m.

    I think that if kids are encouraged to drink more water and that has a positive impact on them by congratulating them then that would be very helpful. Also, the fact that the research showed that one out of five kids don't drink water really surprised me because you would think that most kids do.

  • LALI-dal
    10/01/2019 - 11:04 a.m.

    I think that the parents should be in charge of the soda or sweetened beverages. They could cut down on it or just not let their kid drink anything but water. The kids should also think about if they are doing the right thing or not drinking soda and tea that gives you a lot of calories. Also something that surprised me was this fact : " I've seen 2-year-olds with fatty liver disease and teenagers with Type 2 diabetes" I could never imagine it getting that bad that 2 year olds are found with those symptoms.

  • GNOAH-dal
    10/01/2019 - 11:04 a.m.

    I think it will help to let them only drink 2 sodas a week and watch the calories on each soda. It surprised me that you can gain a pound from soda I never knew that could happen!

  • WADDI-dal
    10/01/2019 - 11:06 a.m.

    I was shocked that there are 2 year olds with fatty liver disease and teenagers with Type 2 diabetes I honestly think to parenting thing to teach your children eat healthy you're putting your child to become obese or get type 2 diabetes so you should cut down the sugar intake
    it? that simple

  • HJASMINE-dal
    10/01/2019 - 11:06 a.m.

    I think you could cut down on the sweetened beverages bye getting kids hooked on something else. For example v8 is healthy and good tasting, and may those water flavorers, it might still be sugar but it's probably a lot less. I didn't know that ''20 percent of children reported drinking no water throughout the day.'' but i mean it's kinda to be expected.

  • VCODY-dal
    10/01/2019 - 11:07 a.m.

    All parents should not buy their kid any sugary drink for a month and make them get used to drinking lots of water. then after that they will still drink sugary drink but more water. The thing that surprised me was 1 out of every 5 kids go a day without water, I would have a huge headache.

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