Over the weekend, Kirsten Herrick, an epidemiologist for the National Center for Health Statistics, presented data from 2011-2014 on the consumption of added sugars in U.S. children aged 6 – 23 months. The results are startling: toddlers between 12 and 18 months averaged 5.5 teaspoons per day, while those between 19 and 23 months averaged 7.1 teaspoons per day. The latter exceeds the limit of 6 teaspoons set by the American Heart Association for adult women.
These figures are particularly troubling because high childhood sugar consumption adversely affects cognition (and hence school work), and it has been linked to obesity, asthma, diabetes, tooth decay, and possibly infectious disease. Moreover, once a child has developed a sweet tooth, it becomes harder to adopt more healthful eating habits later in life.
One way for parents to help reduce their children’s sugar consumption is to limit soft drinks, fruit juices, and other sweetened beverages. Desserts should be reserved for special occasions, and not be a component of every meal. Children should be taught to make better choices during snack time and in the school cafeteria. Only in this way can we reverse the bitter trend.
The original study is here: