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Sugary Drinks Adding to Teen Obesity Propensity

A new American Academy of Pediatrics finds a definite impact on teen waistlines of "sugar-sweetened beverages" - also known as "SSBs" - though the source of the sugar made a difference.

The study looked at more than 15,000 Texas teens in eighth and eleventh grades from a cross-section of ethnic backgrounds, explains CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

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Researchers found that kids who consumed sodas were more likely to be boys, more likely to be economically disadvantaged, and that almost 30 percent of kids consumed three or more SSBs a DAY!

Also, kids who drank soda -- and a lot of it -- were less likely to have days of vigorous physical activity, less likely to participate in school gym, and less likely to participate in an organized physical activity -- and MORE likely to log in hours of sedentary activity.

The OPPOSITE was found among teens who dranks FRUIT-sweetened beverages: They were more likely to be active, and eat healthy foods. The AAP thinks that has to do with the marketing of those beverages as "good for you."

Dr. Ashton answered several questions about SSB consumption among teens:

What'd the downside of a teen drinking SSBs if it's only once a day or if they are active?>

Calories, and what they're NOT taking in when they drink SSBs - namely -- milk and water. Not only that, but poor and unhealthy food choices tend to go along with it.

It's estimated that only one can of soda a day can result in as much as a 15 pound weight gain in one year.

The study also suggests that beverage choice may have a powerful association with risks for obesity in much the same way that smoking for teens becomes a "gateway" activity for drinking alcohol and using drugs.

Are these "fruit sweetened beverages" really good for your health as they're advertised or is that just marketing?

In large measure, it's just marketing. For someone who eats a well-balanced diet, they're not adding anything to one's state of health. However, an exception may be that, after intense exercise, when teens need glucose (sugar) and electrolytes to replace what they've lost in sweat, etc: In these situations, they're fine. Also, there's a risk that, because of marketing, teens may think that, if one of these is good for their health, three or four would be even better. That's not true - calories are still calories!

What can parents do if their teens drink SSBs

Limit Teens' Soft Drink Intake:
--only allow Fruit sweetened beverages after exercise
--dilute drinks with water
--emphasize water and milk
--limit consumption

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