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'Soft drinks not linked to childhood obesity'

Toronto, June 17 - Soft drinks and other sweetened beverages don't contribute to childhood obesity, though it may increase the risk factor among boys aged 6-11 years, says a new study.

The study examined the link between beverage intake patterns of children and their risk for obesity.

"We found sweetened drinks to be dominant beverages during childhood, but saw no consistent association between beverage intake patterns and overweight and obesity," says Susan J. Whiting, professor of nutrition and dietetics from Canada's University of Saskatchewan, who led the study, the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism reports.

"Food and beverage habits are formed early in life and are often maintained into adulthood. Overconsumption of sweetened beverages may put some children at increased risk for overweight and obesity," said Whiting, according to a Saskatchewan statement.

"Indeed, boys aged 6-11 years who consumed mostly soft drinks were shown to be at increased risk for overweight and obesity as compared with those who drank a more moderate beverage pattern," added Whiting.

The researchers determined beverage consumption patterns among Canadian children aged two years using cluster analysis where socio-demographics, ethnicity, household income, and food security were significantly different across the clusters.

Data were divided into different age and gender groups and beverage preferences were studied.

For this study the sweetened, low-nutrient beverages, categorised according to Canada's Food Guide, consisted of fruit-flavoured beverages, beverages with less than 100 percent fruit juice, lemonades, regular soft drinks, and sweetened coffees or teas.


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