Soda May Be
Too Popular With Teens
By Rosalie Marion
September 5, 2002
Got milk? Apparently many teen-aged
girls dont have enough. A new study by Agricultural Research Service nutritionist
Shanthy A. Bowman, based on survey data, notes that milk consumption decreases
as adolescent girls grow older. Out of 732 girls aged 12 through 19 years, the
12-year-olds had the highest milk intake, with 78 percent drinking milk. The
12-year-olds also had the lowest soda intake--nine ounces on a given day.
Conversely, the 19-year-olds had the lowest milk intake, with only 36
percent drinking milk, and a high soda intake of 14 ounces a day. Those who did
not drink milk at all had inadequate intakes of vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus
and magnesium, the last three of which are most important for building strong
The study is based on an analysis of dietary data taken from USDAs
Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals for the years 1994-1996. The
data are collected and managed by ARS, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.
Another trend noted in the study is also of concern. Bowman analyzed data
from staggered USDA Nationwide Food Consumption Surveys spanning four decades.
From the late 1970s to the mid-1990s, milk intakes for adolescent girls aged 12
to 19 years as a whole decreased by 36 percent, while intakes of sodas and
fruit drinks nearly doubled. Although other beverages were also consumed, the
mean soda consumption far exceeded that of other beverages.
At a time when school districts are reevaluating whether to continue
offering sodas, the report urges school food-service providers to make low-fat
and nonfat milk prominently available. Bowman also encourages those who do not
enjoy milk to seek calcium-fortified foods, such as juices, cereals and soy
products. A calcium-content listing of 1,145 foods is available online by going
Visitors can then click on either button next to calcium.
Bowman, with the ARS
Community Nutrition Research Group, Beltsville, Md., is the author of the
study, which appears in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic