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Kids, teens chugging 20% of daily calories: StatsCan

Water is the drink of choice for most Canadians but children and teens are sipping a significant proportion of their daily calories, Statistics Canada suggested in a report released Wednesday.

Water is the drink of choice for most Canadians, but children and teens are sipping a significant proportion of their daily calories, Statistics Canada suggested in a report released Wednesday.

Among Canadians aged four to 18, beverages account for nearly 20 per cent of their daily caloric intake, the federal agency said.

While some beverages can offer good nutritional value, the report cautioned some drinks are packed with excess calories that may lead to tooth decay and weight problems.

"[Beverages] can also be a major source of sugar, and may contribute to excess calories," the report said. "Sugar-sweetened drinks have been linked to weight gain and higher body mass index in children and teenagers."

Among children aged one to three, water, milk and fruit juice were the top three beverages consumed. But the report found that as children age, they tend to incorporate more sweetened drinks into their diets. For example, boys aged four to eight drank approximately 68 ml of soda on a daily basis, while boys aged 14 to 18 consumed about 376 ml. The daily soda intake for girls was about 47 ml and about 179 ml for teenage girls.

A separate Statistics Canada study also released Wednesday reported men and women aged 19 to 30 get about 20 per cent of their daily calories from drinks. But as Canadians age, they consume fewer beverages, the report said. Among people aged 71 and older, beverages accounted for 12 per cent of the daily calories consumed.

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