Jen Neuhaus usually offers her two and half year old Stella a glass of milk with breakfast. "I think it's better for her to drink water or milk rather than a sugar drink," she said.
Now a new study shows just one sugary drink a day can put pre-schoolers on the path to obesity. Research published in the journal Pediatrics looked at 9,600 young children and found 4 and 5 year olds who drank one or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day were more likely to be overweight or obese.
"They get all the calories from sugar but they don't get calories from protein, so it may actually make them hungrier. Where as if you gave your child a glass of low fat milk they would get some protein and be less hungry," said Dr. Dyan Hes with Gramercy Pediatrics.
Sugary drinks include sodas, sports drinks and fruit drinks that are not 100 percent juice. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting juice to 4 -6 ounces per day for children 1 to 6 years old. But with more than 23 million children in the U.S. overweight or obese, Dr. Hes advises parents -- no juice at all. "If you are going to do it... you can dilute it and say you can have it as a treat but you don't have it every day," he said.
Jen waters down Stella's juice, but say she tries to offer healthier options first. "Even if it's putting it in a fun cup like water, It makes her more excited about drinking the water then the juice and stuff that isn't good for her," she said.
And as for her 9-month-old son, Oliver, Jen says it will be a while before she introduces him to juice.
Alison Harmelin -- CBS News
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