Maybe it isn’t news to everyone, but about half of Americans over the age of two consume sugary beverages on any given day, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control.
More than half of sugar-drinks are consumed in the home, says the report, and the majority of those beverages are purchased from stores. Do these two facts imply parents are purchasing too many sugary beverages for their children? It isn’t entirely clear because the report presents more of an overview, but the possibility is disturbing. One possible explanation is that sugar-drinks like colas, root beer, etc. aren’t seen as being real food, so a permissive attitude seems to be prevalent.
Whatever the cultural factors are, childhood and juvenile obesity are significant health problems. About 17% of children and adolescents aged 2-19 are obese, according to CDC. Obesity in youth and diabetes are linked, “The epidemics of obesity and the low level of physical activity among young people, as well as exposure to diabetes in utero, may be major contributors to the increase in type 2 diabetes during childhood and adolescence. ” (Source: CDC)
Childhood obesity can also contribute to heart disease in children, as a study from several years ago showed, “the thickness of artery walls of children and teenagers who are obese or have high cholesterol resembled the thickness of artery walls of an average 45-year-old.” (Source: New York Times) Heart disease is the most common cause of death for adults in the United States. Obesity contributes to heart disease, but obesity alone has been linked to 110,000 deaths per year in the United States.
One important aspect of the sugar-drink consumption situation that wasn’t addressed by the report is the presence of caffeine. A regular twelve ounce Coke contains 54 milligrams of caffeine, as does a regular Mountain Dew of the same size. Jolt Cola has 72 milligrams. (Source: CSPINET.org)
Another important issue is the possible addictiveness of sugar. Dr. Serge Ahmed, of Bordeaux, France, has been working with rats and giving them the choice between cocaine and sugar. Guess what wins, time and again? That’s right, sugar. The sweet taste of sugar is more rewarding than the high of cocaine.” (Source: Huffingtonpost.com) Of course, others say it isn’t, but even if it isn’t addictive like cocaine or caffeine, it is mixed with a mildly addictive substance.
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