These days, sales of fruit drinks, juice and water-based products (think high-fructose corn syrup) to children and toddlers totals almost $2.3 billion a year. Overall, 62% of children’s drink sales are for sweetened drinks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity rates range from 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds to 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds. That’s a health crisis, but it may not be the worst of it. Researchers at the University of Tennessee think dietary habits learned by children 30 or 40 years ago could explain the adult obesity crisis now. So what’s down the road for today’s already-obese kids when they hit 50?
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association ask parents to restrict sugary beverages and want them to know that, according to researchers at the Rudd Center at the University of Connecticut, none of the 34 top-selling sweetened children’s drinks meet recommendations for healthy drinks for children.
So, keep a pitcher of fruited water available; fill up reusable water bottles with berries and water; and if your child wants a sugary beverage, read the label together and share information about why it may not be a healthy choice.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chairman of the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.