One easy remedy for overweight kids -- water

Mon Apr 6, 2009 4:28pm EDT
 
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By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Want to help your kids keep the weight off? Just give them water instead of soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks, researchers advised on Monday.

One analysis of the diets of children and teens in the United States showed they drink, on average, 235 "empty" calories in sugar-sweetened beverages each day.

When these drinks are cut out, the average child does not make up for them by eating or drinking more calories elsewhere, the researchers said. In a second study, Dutch researchers found children would cut out sugary drinks before they would exercise or abandon snacks.

"The evidence is now clear that replacing these 'liquid calories' with calorie-free beverage alternatives both at home and in schools represents a key strategy to eliminate excess calories and prevent childhood obesity," Dr. Claire Wang of Columbia University in New York said in a statement.

Writing in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Wang and colleagues said they looked at data from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that includes detailed questions about diet.

Every 1 percent drop in soft drink intake correlated to more than six fewer calories, they found.

Two other studies showed it is possible to get children to make the change.

Emily Ventura and colleagues of the University of Southern California got 54 overweight Latino teens to take part in a four-month study to improve their diets.   Continued...

 
<p>Drinking water is displayed at a booth during Singapore International Water Week, a gathering for the global water industry, June 26, 2008. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash</p>