The study has also linked higher calorie intake in children directly to these sweet beverages. The researchers arrived at this conclusion after analyzing data on 11,000 U.S. children, aged 2 to 18, who participated in national surveys between 2003 and 2010.
During this period, children also drank fewer non-sweetened beverages, but consumed more unhealthy foods.
"This is concerning because many foods that are associated with higher sugar-sweetened beverage consumption (e.g., pizza, cakes/cookies/pies, fried potatoes, and sweets) are also top sources of solid fats and added sugars; components of the diet that the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommends Americans should limit," said lead investigator Kevin Mathias, of the department of nutrition at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The study details are due for publication in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.