An extensive 10-year study conducted in U.S among white and black girls regarding their diet habits has revealed increasing tendency of adolescent girls to switch over to unhealthy soda and fruit drinks, as they get older. Nearly 2,371 girls had participated in the Growth Health study conducted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The study participants were required to maintain three-day food diaries from nine or ten year's upto age 19. The records were then submitted for observation and analysis during their annual visit to the clinic.
Alarmingly, a three-fold increase in the soda intake was observed in both the groups. Infact, soda was the number one beverage consumed by girls in the older age group. A 25% parallel decrease in the milk consumption was also noted in both the study groups. An increase in the fruit drink consumption among black girls was noticed. In addition, girls with high soda consumption were found to be heavy compared to those with reduced soda intake.
The results of the present study have several valuable implications regarding the health of adolescent girls. Soda, which is popular among adolescents, is of limited nutritive value. Milk is an important source of calcium, regarded to be vital for proper bone development and bone health.
If this trend were to continue, it could even predispose to osteoporosis later in life, owing to decreased deposition of calcium in the bone. The researchers have urged the health officials to have a closer look and initiate public health efforts to assist youngsters in choosing healthy beverages. This would indeed go a long way in the prevention of weight gain and calcium deficiency.