Study: Two-thirds of kids drink sugary beverages

WASHINGTON — Warnings about sugary drinks such as sodas and sports drinks have been out there for years, but a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates they’re not being followed.

Almost two-thirds of children and young people under the age of 19 drank at least one sugar-sweetened beverage on any given day, according to a report based on numbers from 2011 to 2014.

The data show that boys and girls overall got more than 7 percent of their daily caloric intake from the sugary drinks — 7.2 percent for girls, 7.3 percent for boys.

And the numbers worsen as for older children: The 12 to 19 age group has the highest rate of calories from sugar, with girls in the age group topping out at 9.7 percent of their daily caloric intake from the drinks.

Among boys, as well as girls, Asian children had the lowest percentage of calories coming from such drinks — about half that of white, black or Hispanic young people. Black children of both sexes topped the list, although just barely in the case of boys.

The study defined a sugar-sweetened beverage to include regular soda, fruit drinks, sweetened bottled water, sports and energy drinks and others. Diet drinks and pure fruit juice didn’t count.

The CDC says sugar has been linked to dental problems, weight gain, diabetes, liver disease and other problems.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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