Increased consumption of sweetened beverages has been linked to higher energy intake and weight gain in children. Now a new study
has shown that a girl’s beverage intake at age 5 can predict her fat
composition and weight status in later childhood and adolescence.

Reporting in the October issue of The American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition,
researchers assessed 5-year-old girls as part
of a longitudinal study over a 10-year period. From age 5 to 15, the girls were measured biennially for their intake of beverages, including milk, fruit juice and sweetened drinks. At each assessment, they were also measured for percentage of body fat, waist circumference and body mass index (BMI).

At the end of the study, the researchers found that greater consumption of sweetened beverages—but not milk or fruit juice—at age 5 was positively
associated with a higher rate of adiposity, percentage of body fat, weight circumference and BMI in the years from 5 to 15.

“These findings provide new longitudinal evidence that early intake of sweetened beverages predicts adiposity and weight status across childhood and adolescence,” the researchers concluded.