Thursday, October 7, 2010

Is Your Child Drinking Too Much Soda?

Sodas (soft drinks/carbonated beverages) are a major source of added sugars in the American diet. Numerous studies link the high intake of sodas to childhood obesity and a number of related health problems, including type 2 diabetes, inflammation, and tooth decay.

If your child drinks too much soda, his bones can also be weakened and easily fractured. Additionally, when if your child drinks sodas in place of more nutrient-dense beverages like milk or 100 percent fruit juice, he could come up short on a number of key vitamins and minerals, as well as protein.

Health Problems Linked to Sodas
  • Obesity 
  • Inflammation
  • Diabetes
  • Tooth decay (erosion of tooth enamel), gum disease and bone loss
  • Weak bones/easy fractures
  • Inadequate intake of milk and 100 percent fruit juice, leading to low levels of vitamins A, D, calcium, and protein.
  • Caffeine dependency
How to Protect Your Child From Health Risks Associated With Drinking Too Much Soda
  • Do not keep sodas, whether sweetened or unsweetened, in your house.
  • Explain the potential dangers of drinking too much soda to your child.
  • Encourage your child to drink water when he is thirsty rather than reaching for a soda.
  • Offer your child milk or other dairy products (or milk substitute) to meet his calcium needs.
  • Provide your child with small amounts of 100 percent fruit juice instead of sodas. Whole fruit is an even better alternative.
  • Set a good example. Children are great imitators, so don't drink sodas if you don't want your child to drink them.
Sodas are a major source of excess calories that contribute to the growing childhood obesity epidemic in the US. Drinking too much of these beverages could lead to other health problems, as well. To protect your child from the potential dangers, restrict access to sodas and offer healthy alternatives like water, milk and 100 percent fruit juice.

Healthy Beverages Toolkit