Study Finds 3 Ways Parents Can Cut Kids’ Soda Consumption

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Credit: Soda photo via Shutterstock

Study Finds 3 Ways Parents Can Cut Kids’ Soda Consumption

The bestِ way forِ parents toِ reduce theِ amount ofِ soft drinks theirِ young children drink isِ to notِ serve itِ with meals, a newِ study suggests.
The findings fromِ researchers inِ Belgium showed thatِ children fromِ higher-income families drank lessِ than halfِ — aboutِ 42 percent — asِ much soda asِ children fromِ lower-income families.
However, theِ vast majority ofِ the difference betweenِ the income groups couldِ beِ explained byِ three parenting practices: notِ offering soda atِ mealtimes, notِ letting kids drink soda wheneverِ theyِ want, andِ not keeping soda inِ the house, according toِ theِ study.

What works, what doesn’t

Researchers based theirِ findings onِ questionnaires completed byِ 1,639 parents ofِ children ages 2  to 7.
The practice ofِ notِ offering soda atِ mealtimes explained aboutِ half ofِ the difference inِ soda consumption seenِ betweenِ the high- andِ low-income families, according toِ theِ study.
It makesِ sense thatِ the home environment andِ home ‘policies’ orِ limits related toِ soft drinks willِ haveِ the biggest impact, onِ soda consumption, saidِ Kate Dickin, a nutritional science research atِ Cornell University whoِ wasِ notِ involved inِ the study.

How to make healthy choices appealing to kids

Dickin saidِ it’sِ helpful whenِ parents understand howِ to create a home environment thatِ offers kids healthy choices.
Young kids respond wellِ toِ simple ways toِ makeِ a healthy beverage seemِ special — a pretty cup, a citrus slice, orِ a drinking straw.
Replacing soda withِ otherِ sugar-sweetened beverages doesn’t help, soِ itِ would haveِ beenِ useful toِ knowِ aboutِ all sweetened drinks.