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Sports Drinks, Another Sugary Beverage Linked to Weight Gain

The fight against childhood obesity seems to be gaining ground as soda consumption has been seen to decline among children and adolescents. However, researchers found that the consumption of sports drinks, especially among boys has increased and may be responsible for the continuing prevalence of the disease.

Researchers led by Alison Field, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, tracked down about 11,000 children of the Nurses’ Health Study II participants. The study, which began in 2004, followed the adolescents who were aged 9-15 years and evaluated their diet and weight changes every 2 years.

The investigators found that their declining consumption of sugary drinks and increasing intake of sports drinks reflected the national trend. They were surprised to find though, that sports drinks consumption led to a greater increase in weight than soda intake. While the teens gained almost 2 pounds per soda can taken, they found that they gained about 3.5 pounds per sport drink taken.

Dr. Field expressed surprise over the results, thinking that the effects of the two kinds of beverages would be comparable. He is concerned that sports drinks are being promoted as part of a healthy active life, although one would have to spend two hours of exercise to balance the calorie content of sports drinks which are sold in large portions.

Furthermore, while a can of soda (12-ounce/can) usually contains 120 calories, a 20-ounce or 32 –ounce sports drink contains 130 and 200 calories, respectively. Dr. Field believes that parents as well as clinicians should be educated about considering sports drinks as a sugary beverage, and that they contain more than one serving (with 50 calories/serving) per container.

Zimmerman, R. Sports Drinks, Not Just Sodas, Drive Up Weight in Teens. Medscape.

Posted in: News Briefs, Obesity, Obesity in Children, Overweight, Weight Gain

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