Sugary Drinks Tied to Preschoolers' Extra Pounds
Study found those who drank more of them were more likely to be obese at age 5
Still, DeBoer said, his team could not account for all the influences on kids' weight. The study lacked information on the children's overall diet, which was a "huge" missing piece, he said.
"All we're able to do is say there's an association between [sugary drinks] and children's weight," DeBoer said.
That said, there is a "strong evidence base" tying sugar-laden beverages to obesity in children and adults, Patel said. And the majority of U.S. school districts now have policies restricting sweet drinks, she said in the editorial.
These latest findings, Patel said, suggest the same moves need to be made in child-care centers. A few states, such as California, have passed laws to that effect, but most have not.
For parents, DeBoer and Patel both advised turning to healthier drink choices -- but don't forget the rest of your child's diet. Look out for added sugars in food too, DeBoer said.
Patel also suggested opting for whole fruit over fruit juice, since fruit is a good source of fiber.