For every soft drink or sugar-sweetened beverage a child drinks every day, the risk for obesity appears to jump 60%, suggests a new study from the Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.
The study included 548 Massachusetts schoolchildren aged 11 and 12 years. The investigators found that for every can or glass of sugar-sweetened beverage a child drank during the 19-month study, a child's body mass index (a measure of weight related to height) and their chance of becoming obese increased by 60%.
However, the authors note that their study "was observational in nature" and does not prove that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages will cause a child to definitely become obese.
According to the report, one possible explanation for the link is that liquids do not satisfy the appetite in the same way as food. This, combined with the fact that children are not likely to limit their consumption of food at mealtime to compensate for the extra soft drink calories, has an overall result of the child taking in more calories than he or she burns off.
Regardless of the allegations of this study, advice to consumers remains the same. A balanced diet and daily physical exercise are the keys to a healthy lifestyle. Childhood obesity is the result of many factors.
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