Fact: The average child consumes more than half of her or his body weight in sugar each year, with a significant amount coming from juice drinks, sodas and other sweetened beverages.
Sugary drinks, once viewed as an occasional treat, have taken the place of water in far too many diets. In fact, a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that almost two-thirds of children in the U.S. consume at least one sugary beverage on any given day and that close to 30 percent of children have two or more sweetened drinks a day.
For adults, sugary drink consumption is lower, but it also is a cause for concern. A separate CDC report that focused on adults found that approximately one-half of U.S. adults have at least one sugar-sweetened beverage on a given day and close to 10 percent of adults consume at least two sugar-sweetened drinks a day. The CDC recommends no more than 10% of daily calories come from added sugars (200 calories for a 2,000-calorie diet). One 12-ounce can of soda alone contains about 150 calories.
Health experts and researchers are concerned with the increased consumption of sweetened drinks because sugary beverages are a major source of calories and added dietary sugar. Numerous studies also have found that consuming an excess of sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to weight gain, dental cavities, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
The Mighty Mouth campaign is urging children and adults to consider healthier options, such as drinking water. Water – especially fluoridated water – provides health benefits, is delicious and is perfect for quenching thirst.
This messaging comes at a great time for new parents as well. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just last week issued new guidelines on fruit juice consumption, warning parents not to give young children fruit juice until they are at least one. The AAP instead urged children to eat a whole fruit.