Tags: tv | time | junk | food | soda

Income, TV Time Tied to Soda Consumption

Wednesday, 29 August 2012 12:18 PM

Preschoolers in low-income families and kids who spend more than two hours a day watching TV or playing videogames are more likely to consume higher amounts of sugary soda, juice and junk foods, according to new research from the University of Alberta.
Researchers who surveyed parents about the dietary habits of 1,800 Edmonton kids found that 54.5 percent from poorer neighborhoods drank at least one soda per week – far more than the 40.8 per cent of children from higher-income backgrounds. Children from poorer families also drank less milk and consumed more fruit juice, which, like soda, is linked to childhood obesity.
Researchers found similar drinking habits among preschoolers who spent more than two hours of "screen time" per day – watching TV or playing video games. Kids from poorer neighborhoods also tended to sit in front of screens more often, and drank larger volumes of sweetened beverages, the study showed.
"When you're looking at that age group, and such a large percentage of very young kids in the study are consuming a large amount of soda, it's quite concerning," said researcher Kate Storey, a registered dietitian and assistant professor at the UA School of Public Health.
"If you're drinking a lot of soda and fruit juice, that can displace consumption of water and milk, which are important not just for quenching thirst, but for developing healthy bones and teeth, and health and wellness in general."
A companion study that examined the types of foods the preschoolers ate found that just 30 percent of them ate enough fruits and vegetables, and 23.5 percent consumed the recommended amount of servings of grain products. Children from low- and medium-income neighborhoods were more likely than kids in high-income areas to eat junk foods like potato chips, fries, candies and chocolate.
"There are cities in North America where, literally, you have food deserts. If you wanted to go out and buy some lettuce and tomatoes, you'd have to travel very far – very likely without a car,” said study co-author John C. Spence. “You're not going to do that every time you want to get some food, so maybe you're going to resort to the convenience store down the road."
Children who attended daycare or kindergarten were significantly less likely to reach for junk, which Storey said indicates education can make a difference and lead to healthier eating habits.

© HealthDay

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Kids who spend hours a day watching TV or playing videogames consume more soda, juice and junk food.
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 12:18 PM
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