No Pop, No Childhood Obesity

( [email protected] ) Apr 26, 2004 04:00 PM EDT

A recent British study has found that eliminating carbonated drinks from children’s diets could help prevent childhood obesity.

The study, published online in the British Medical Journal, found that just cutting down on carbonated drinks by 250ml per day limited obesity rates in children.

Researchers concentrated on carbonated drinks

UK researchers decided that rather than spreading their focus on multiple areas such as food, drink and exercise to prevent childhood obesity, they focused on only one—carbonated drinks.

Pop contains large amounts of sugar that is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, and if the sugar isn’t used up it is stored as fat. The scientists conjectured that if they could reduce consumption of carbonated beverages, they would reduce chances of the children becoming overweight or obese.

Percentage of obese children fell

The study followed 650 schoolchildren, aged 7 to 11. Scientists had half of the children cut consumption of pop by half a glass a day—about 250ml. The other half drank about 0.2 glasses more a day in addition to their average of about two glasses every three days.

Instead of consuming carbonated drinks, the children were encouraged to drink diluted fruit juices or water. By the end of the school year the percentage of overweight and obese children in the control group rose by 7.6% but fell 0.2% in the children who cut fizzy drinks.

17.6 million children under five are overweight

An estimated 17.6 million children under five are overweight, according to the World Health Organization. According to the US Surgeon General the number of overweight children in America has doubled and the number of overweight adolescents has tripled since 1980.

Children who are overweight or obese tend to become overweight or obese adults, facing an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and various forms of cancer.


1. D. Kerr; Cavan, D., James, J., Thomas, P., “Preventing Childhood Obesity by Reducing Consumption of Carbonated Drinks: Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial,” British Medical Journal, doi:10.1136/bmj.38077.458438.EE.