School-aged children in Australia consuming 'alarming levels' of soft drinks, partly because they are readily available at home, study finds; boys, kids from lower socio-economic backgrounds more likely to be big soft drink consumers
March 18, 2013
– SCHOOL-AGED children are consuming ``alarming levels'' of soft drinks, partly because they are readily available at home, a study has found.
Kids from lower socio-economic backgrounds and boys are more likely to be big consumers of soft drinks.
The University of Sydney study, published in the current issue of Preventive Medicine, found 24 per cent of the 8058 kids surveyed were drinking an ``alarming'' five or more cups of soft drink a week.
More than a quarter of kids from lower socio-economic backgrounds reported high levels of soft drink consumption, compared with 19 per cent in high socio-economic backgrounds.
``We also found students who drank soft drink with meals at home were almost 10 times as likely to be high consumers of these drinks,'' the study's lead author Lana Hebden said yesterday.
Kids aged between 9 and 16 were almost five times as likely to be high consumers if soft drinks were readily available at home, according to the study.
That showed a clear link between the availability of soft drinks at home and at school, and high levels of consumption, Ms Hebden said.
The health implications of excessive soft drink consumption should act as a caution for parents to buy soft drinks only on special occasions and not regularly offer them with meals, she said.
``We need to be putting out more information about kids' access to drinks at home.
``Parents need to consider what is stored in their cupboards or fridge and what their children have access to.''
Ms Hebden added that the government should also impose a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks or ban the sale of soft drinks from schools to curb excessive soft drink consumption.
The study used data from a 2010 survey.
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