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Wonder why your preschooler’s chubby?

27 Jun

sugar-drinks.jpgPreschoolers pack on pounds from sugary drinksLast Updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2007 | 3:03 PM ET CBC News Canadian preschoolers who snack on sugar-sweetened drinks are twice as likely to become overweight as children who don’t, researchers have found. Children should drink limited amounts of unsweetened fruit juice, pediatricians recommend. (CBC) Lise Dubois, Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Population Health at the University of Ottawa, and her colleagues explored the link after dietitians in Quebec said they often saw obese kids who drank a lot of sugar-sweetened drinks between meals. “Regular sugar-sweetened beverage consumption between meals may put some young children at a greater risk for overweight,” the study’s authors concluded in the June issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. “Parents should limit the quantity of sweetened beverages consumed during preschool years because it may increase propensity to gain weight.” The study focused on about 2,000 children born in 1988 in Quebec who participated in a nutrition study at age four or five. Continue Article About 15 per cent of children who drank the sugary beverages four to six times a week were overweight at ages 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5 years. In comparison, about seven per cent of children who did not consume the beverages between meals were overweight at 4.5 years, the researchers said. Between 14 and 16 per cent of children drank sweetened drinks daily. “Snacking is good for kids,” dietitian Liz Pearson told CBC Newsworld Wednesday. “But we’re probably having kids snack more than they should, or [eating more] higher-calorie foods than they should at snack time.” When people of all ages consume liquid calories, the calories are often not perceived in the same way; eating an apple leaves you feeling full more than drinking juice does. When children drink sugar-sweetened beverages, they also take in more calories, more sugar in a concentrated form and generally receive less nutrition than they would by drinking milk, Pearson said. Healthier alternative tips include: Buying 100 per cent fruit juice, not fruit punch or fruit blend. Look for “no sugar added” on the label, and check for sugar in the form of glucose, sucrose, fructose or high-fructose corn syrup in the list of ingredients. Dilute fruit juice with water, like a spritzer for kids. Eat fruits and vegetables with a high water content to quench thirst, such as grapes and watermelon. Drink milk. (Canada’s Food Guide recommends two cups a day up to age eight and then three to four servings.) When children say they’re thirsty, water should be the first drink offered, followed by milk and unsweetened fruit juice in small quantities, Pearson suggested, noting that eating habits are set early in life. After an extensive research study in 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that children aged one to six should have no more than four to six ounces (118 ml to 177 ml) of 100 per cent fruit juice a day, and eight to 12 ounces (250 ml to 350 ml) a day for ages seven to 18.

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