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Drinking water linked to fewer sugary drinks in kids

Drinking water linked to fewer sugary drinks in kids

PanARMENIAN.Net - Children and teens who drink water are less likely to consume sugary beverages throughout the day, according to a new study, CNN reports.

Researchers analyzed data from 8,400 children and teens ages 2 to 19 collected between 2011 and 2016 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is administered yearly by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Parents and kids were asked to recall what the children had consumed in the previous 24 hours, and the calories were added up.

One out of every 5 kids and young adults reported that they did not drink water in the day prior to the survey. Not drinking water was associated with consuming an extra 93 calories per day, on average, and 4.5% more calories from sweetened beverages such as sodas, sports drinks and juice, according to the study, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

The number of extra calories consumed varied by age, as well as race and ethnicity. Caucasian children who didn't drink water got an extra 122 calories from sugary beverages, while Hispanic children consumed an extra 61 calories from these and African American kids an extra 93 calories.

The research was not designed to determine what amount of water would prevent kids from drinking sugary beverages but rather whether drinking water at all had an effect, explained Asher Rosinger, assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University and lead author of the new study.

Because of the study design, the research could not establish definite cause and effect between drinking water and consuming fewer calories, only an association, noted Dr. Natalie Muth, a practicing pediatrician and registered dietitian in Carlsbad, California, who was not involved in the research.

"Kids who drink water may have parents who limit sugary drinks and otherwise promote healthy eating, or kids who don't drink water may not have access to safe water," she added.

With the limitations in mind, Rosinger and his team stress that sugar-sweetened beverages add empty calories to children's diets and may increase the risk of weight gain, obesity and diabetes.

"I talk with my patients and their families all the time about the health harms of sugary drinks and the advantage of drinking primarily water and milk," Muth said.

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