The George Mateljan Foundation is a non-profit organization free of commercial influence, which provides this website for you free of charge. Our purpose is to provide you with unbiased scientific information about how nutrient-rich World's Healthiest Foods can promote vibrant health and energy and fit your personal needs and busy lifestyle.

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Each Daily Soda Increases Your Child's Risk of Obesity 60%

Obesity among US children has increased significantly since 1960--by 54% in children aged 6 to 11 and by 40% for adolescents, according to a report on obesity in children released at the end of 2000. A recent long-term study undertaken at Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, confirms that the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks is a significant factor in the escalating prevalence of obesity in children.

This prospective study included 548 schoolchildren aged 11 and 12 of various ethnic backgrounds who were enrolled in public schools in four Massachusetts communities. The investigators found that for every can or glass of sugar-sweetened beverage a child drank during the 19-month study, the child's body mass index--a measure of weight related to height--and chance of becoming obese increased 60%. The study, the first to link soft drink consumption to obesity in children, received no financial support from any organization that either promotes or opposes soft drink consumption.

The consumption of soft drinks has increased 500% in the last 50 years, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Currently, soft drinks are the leading source of added sugars in the diet of adolescents, adding 36.2 grams of sugar daily for adolescent girls and 57.7 grams for boys. About 65% of adolescent girls and 74% of adolescent boys consume soft drinks daily.

Decrease Your Child's Risk for Obesity with the World's Healthiest Foods

Navigating all the challenges of adolescence is tough enough without the additional difficulty of being obese. Fortunately, healthful and delicious alternatives to sugar and chemical-laden beverages can be provided by the World's Healthiest Foods, thirst-quenchers that expand our children's health, not their their waistlines.

Next time your child asks for a soda, try a "Spritzer" instead. Simply fill a tall glass about two-thirds full of icy sparkling mineral water, then for the remaining third, add an organic fruit juice, such as orange, grape, apple or pineapple. For more intense flavor, try an organic fruit juice concentrate. These are great to have around, especially in the summer when they can be used to make outstanding sno-cones: just pour your child's favorite organic fruit juice concentrate over some crushed ice.

How about a rich, creamy after-school milkshake? Here's a basic recipe you can vary to suit your child's favorite flavors. Next time you grocery shop, stock up on frozen berries and ripe bananas. Peel the bananas, place them in a Ziploc bag and freeze. When your child comes home from school, pour about 6 ounces of soy or organic cow's milk into your blender, add a frozen banana along with a half-cup of frozen berries and blend. A teaspoon of vanilla or cinnamon or a few leaves of fresh mint can be a delightful addition-and experimenting together is half the fun.

Should your child settle for the same old soda when, with the World's Healthiest Foods, you can decrease his or her risk for obesity and create a new sparkling drink or thick creamy milkshake every day? The answer's a no-brainer: No Way!

Ludwig DS, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis. Lancet 2001 Feb 17;357(9255):505-8