Frequent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets starts at early age
Laitala, Marja-Liisa; Vehkalahti, Miira M.; Virtanen, Jorma I. (2017-10-16)
Marja-Liisa Laitala, Miira M. Vehkalahti & Jorma I. Virtanen (2018) Frequent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets starts at early age, Acta Odontologica Scandinavica, 76:2, 105-110, DOI: 10.1080/00016357.2017.1387929
© Acta Odontologica Scandinavica Society. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
Objectives: We aimed to investigate the habitual consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and sweets in relation to mothers’ behaviours and practices with their infants.
Methods: We targeted mothers with children 1–24 months (N = 200) visiting Public Child Health clinics in Finland. During routine visits mothers (N = 179) volunteered to complete a self-administered anonymous questionnaire about their child’s health-related behaviours (consumption of sweets and SSBs, tooth brushing frequency). The questionnaires also included questions about the mothers’ background (age, education) and health-related behaviours (consumption of sweets, tooth brushing frequency and smoking habits). The children were categorised by age, and Chi-squared tests, Fischer’s exact test, ANOVA and correlation coefficient served for the statistical analyses.
Results: Of those under 6 months, almost half (44%) received SSBs, and 45% of them more than once a week. Their use gradually increased by age such that by 19–24 months, all received SSBs at least sometimes, and 56%, frequently. Fewer than half of the mothers (33–43%) gave sweets to their children between the ages of 10–15 months, but 92% by the age of 2 years. Children’s twice-a-day tooth brushing increased from 14% to 33%. The child’s age and tooth brushing frequency correlated with the consumption of sugar-sweetened products (r = 0.458).
Conclusions: Infants frequent consumption of sugar-sweetened products begins early in childhood. Thus, tackling these common risk factors in the first years of life is essential and calls for health-promoting actions in multiple areas that target primarily the parents of infants.
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