With our modern lifestyle, many of us have become vulnerable to various kinds of diseases and serious health conditions, which were not even heard of a few decades back. Obesity is one of the lifestyle diseases, which is rapidly becoming one of the most common medical concerns across the world. It is defined as a condition when there is too much fat in the body; this excessive body fat further increases the risk of various health conditions like diabetes, heart-related diseases, stroke, and dementia, as compared to their lean counterparts.
But that’s not it; even children are suffering from obesity these days. Childhood obesity is a rising concern for a lot of parents. A new study, published in the Journal ‘Academic Pediatrics’, suggests that educating parents, especially mothers, with basic facts about the effects of drinking sugary drinks during pregnancy and childhood (before age two) may help developing strategies to reduce childhood obesity.
“Emerging evidence suggests that regular consumption of sugary beverages, either by the mother during pregnancy or by the child before age two, may increase a child’s risk of obesity later in childhood,” says Jennifer Woo Baidal, lead author of the study.
If the findings of recent studies are to be believed, then obesity is rapidly growing in young children between the ages of two to five years.
“We were surprised at how many parents and infants were regularly consuming drinks with added sugar. In order to influence behaviour, we needed a better understanding of the factors that influence parents’ attitudes,” Woo Baidal explains.
For this study, researchers interviewed 25 of the WIC-enrolled families, asking them to respond to materials from public health campaigns and other promotions about sugary drinks or content and the risks involved. It was found that not many families were aware of the risks; in fact, they were confused about which drink is healthy.
“Parents were unreceptive to finger-wagging messages about what they should buy or drink, but most welcomed information that would help them make healthy choices for themselves and their families,” Baidal says.
“Although our study was small, our findings could inform broader strategies to counter the mixed messages that many low-income families get about what’s healthy and what’s not,” she concluded.