A study carried out in Canada on
1,800 4-5 year olds found more than half of the children from poorer
backgrounds drank fizzy drinks at least once a week in comparison to just four
in ten affluent kids.
The poor children also drank less
milk and took more fruit juice in comparison to affluent children. This could
predispose them to obesity due to the high sugar intake.
It was found that less affluent
kids were likely to consume more junk foods such as chips, sweets, chocolate
and fizzy drinks. This type of diet was also common in preschoolers and other
children, who spent a lot of time watching TV and playing video games,
irrespective of their social circumstances.
According to Professor Kate
Storey, of the University of Alberta, Canada, the fact that a large percentage
of very young kids are consuming huge quantities of soda is a matter of
concern. Besides, consuming fruit juices and soda instead of water or milk is
quite hazardous to health, as milk and water are important for bones and teeth,
and for the general well- being, respectively!
Co-researcher, Dr John Spence
observed that dietary behavior of a person is heavily influenced by childhood
lifestyles and eating patterns. This study also helped to reiterate that
poverty is a lot more than 'lack of money' and that many families living in
unhealthy places are likely to make unhealthy food choices too.
The explanation for this
'alarming pattern' could be that the poorer section is choosing high calorie
junk foods as they are cheap and convenient.
A healthier eating habit is the need of the hour
especially among children and this needs to be brought about by actions taken
at different levels, such as at schools, homes and in the communities.