Water Aids Weight Control
You've probably heard the latest statistics: 15 percent of children in the US are overweight or obese (that's almost nine million kids), which is triple the proportion from 1980. To help your child beat the obesity rap, encourage her to drink water or juice spritzers (seltzer with a splash of fruit juice) between meals instead of juice boxes or regular soft drinks.
Researchers have found that kids who are regular soda drinkers consume more total calories than those who don't—and not just the 120 calories or so sodas generally contain per 12-ounce can. "Studies show that when we consume calories in liquid form, we don't compensate for those calories by eating less at subsequent meals," says Dr. Rachel K. Johnson, PhD, RD, professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington.
Besides promoting water drinking, drink water yourself between meals. "Parental modeling is a strong influence on children's eating patterns," says Dr. Johnson. "If children see their mom drinking water, they're more likely to drink it than some other type of beverage."
Meanwhile, stick to milk at meals (and do so yourself, to set a good example). For growing bones, "kids need the calcium," says Dr. Johnson (and so do you). Plus, studies show that a calcium-rich diet may also help keep weight in check.