Childhood

Sugary Beverages and Childhood Obesity

Updated: 8/22/18 Beverages that contain a high sugar content are a contributing cause to the epidemic of childhood and teen obesity.  What kind of beverages are your children consuming at school?

Sugar-rich drinks such as soda, sports and energy drinks, and flavored teas have become highly popular over the last decade, and particularly so among the young population.  The amount of these types of beverages that are being consumed, as well as the size of those beverages, has increased greatly.  Along with this increase, comes a larger risk for obesity, dental problems and diseases like type 2 diabetes.

One 12-ounce can of regular soda has around 150 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrate, and almost 40 grams of sugar!  These extra calories contribute to weight gain - and extra weight is the largest cause of childhood type 2 diabetes.

When suffering from type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal or the body's cells ignore the insulin that is produced.  Insulin is needed for the body to use glucose for energy.  One study has indicated that individuals that consume high amounts of sugary beverages have a 26% greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Reducing sugary beverage consumption can help improve glucose and insulin levels in children, in an effort to prevent childhood diabetes and weight gain.

Be cautious of fruit juice as well.  While fruit juice is often perceived as a healthy beverage, some juices can be just as unhealthy as soda.  The amount of sugar that a fruit juice contains may be as much, or more, than soft drinks and the benefits that come from vitamins in juice are outweighed by the amount of sugar.

sugarjuice

1. Pay attention to nutrition labels when grocery shopping.  Juices marketed as "100% Pure" or "Organic" may not necessarily be accurate.  Read the nutrition label!

2. Don't be fooled by the word "fruit".  "Fruit" is thought of as healthy food, and gives the mindset that items that use the word "fruit", are healthy.  Watch out for "fruit" products that are filled with added sugar and calories.

To avoid the negative effects that sugary drinks have on health, encourage children to consume sugar in moderation and to consume adequate amounts of water.  Promote healthy beverage choices at home and replace sugary beverages with water, milk or real fruit and vegetable juices.

Sources: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/33/11/2477

and http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/parents-and-kids/children-and-type-2/preventing-type-2-in-children.html

Consequences of Childhood Obesity

Updated:  8/22/18 Did you know that today, about one-third of children and adolescents in the United States are considered overweight or obese, and this number continues to rise?  The negative consequences associated with this excess weight in children, ranges from physical to psychological and social.  The impact of obesity in childhood can have life-long effects and lead to a shorter life expectancy, making this an extremely important health issue.

For children and adolescents, adult BMI categories are further divided by sex and age, due to changes that occur during growth and development.  Growth charts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are used to determine children’s BMI.  Children and adolescents with a BMI between the 5th and 85th percentile are considered to be a healthy weight.  Children with a BMI between the 85th and 94th percentiles are generally considered to be overweight, and those with a BMI at or above the sex-and age-specific 95th percentile of the population on this growth chart are typically considered obese.

Overweight and obesity are the result of caloric imbalance (too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed) and are influenced by genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.

Childhood overweight and obesity can lead to health consequences into adulthood, and obese children and teens are more likely to become obese adults.  Children who are obese have a greater risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and asthma, joint problems, fatty liver disease, gallstones, and heartburn, and psychological issues such as poor self-esteem and depression.

Childhood obesity can be prevented through the actions of children and their parents. Promoting an environment of healthy eating and physical activity for children can help reduce the risk of obesity and the negative consequences that come with this condition.

Sources: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm

and https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/causes.html