With September being Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we thought it’d be a great time to focus on the role that water can play in maintaining a healthy weight. Everyone knows that we need to drink fluids to stay hydrated. Often, sodas, juices, and sports drinks are the preferred choice over water. However, there is a direct link between drinking too many high sugar drinks (and even diet drinks!) and weight gain in childhood.
The healthiest and simplest choice for us is: plain tap water. It is tailor-made to keep us hydrated, and consuming eight glasses a day contributes to feeling full and fighting off hunger. Often children may think that they are hungry when they are really dehydrated. Drinking a full glass of water can be what is needed to feel satisfied.
A recent recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (2017) state kids under the age of 1 should avoid fruit juice, and older kids should drink it only sparingly. This is connected to evidence suggesting juice consumption links to tooth decay and to gaining too much or too little weight. Even 100% juice has no fiber, and similar grams of sugar to soda. By comparison, a half cup of apple slices has 1.5 grams of fiber, 30 calories and only 5.5 grams of sugar. The fiber in a piece of fruit also increases fullness.
The Greater Charlotte area is lucky to have access to high quality tap water that costs a fraction of those high-cost energy drinks. Plain tap water is as healthy as bottled water. And it is much less expensive and models environmental sustainability: there is no need to dispose of a plastic bottle. So, the next time you are packing your child’s lunch or rushing them to sports practice, remember to grab your reusable water bottle and fill it with some of the finest tap water around.