Soft Drinks the Beverage of Choice for Teens

In prior generations, soft drinks, soda pop, colas-whatever you called them-were reserved for a treat. In today’s society, this is not the case for teenagers. They cannot escape the onslaught of a $60 billion-a-year marketing campaign, soft drink machines everywhere, and consumption messages that entice an impelled value in their consumption. Many schools across the United States and Canada have placed soft drink machines near their cafeterias as a drink alternative to wholesome dairy products. True, many contain fruit juices fortified with vitamins…and sugar.

Schools have succumed to this for the added revenue and due to teen demand. The machines outside the locked lunchrooms assure access by the students before and after school classes. This had made these sugar and acid containing beverages the drink of choice. Remember when the water fountain was the only choice?

Soft drinks by teens have increased 1100% over the past 20 years. Dairy purchases by teens have decreased by 30% over the same time.

While the largest risk of consuming too many soft drinks is still tooth decay, we are now learning that osteoporosis, obesity, and diabetes also head the list of concerns to a teenager’s fast-paced lifestyle. Fifteen percent of American adolescents, ages 6 to 19, are overweight. Being overweight puts teens at an increased risk of hypertension and elevated cholesterol leading to heart disease, type II diabetes, osteoporosis and tooth erosion. This is an important link between one’s oral condition and one’s overall health.

Check this out yourself. Read the ingredients on the soft drink cans. Coke contains high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, phosphoric acid, and caffeine. Dr. Pepper has the same contents. Pepsi’s Mist also has citric acid, potassium citrate, ascorbic acid, and calcium disodium EDTA. Coke’s Sprite has high fructose corn syrup and/or, citric acid and sodium citrate. 7 Up’s Hawaiian Punch contains less than 2% juice but high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, ascorbic acid and sugar.”

Several parent organizations have begun to realize that such availability of these products means less control they have over a child’s nutritional diet. Their ready availability at institutions of learning gives an impelled approval. Even competition to the school’s own cafeteria’s planned food offerings by their dietitians. These parent groups are demanding the removal of such machines from their areas schools with some success.

– Article by the American Academy of General Dentistry