(December 31, 2008, Canton, GA). The opening line of a McGuire Sisters’ pop hit of the 1950’s went like this: “Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at suppertime… ” According to researchers at the University of Oslo in Norway, far too many teenagers today are taking that advice literally, and the long-term effects on their physical and mental health are just beginning to be uncovered.
The Norwegian researchers examined the eating habits –including intake of soft drinks with sugar – of 5,000 teenagers. The participants in the study – all ages 15 & 16 – were then given a questionnaire designed to gauge their mental well-being. The researchers found a strong correlation between soft drink consumption and mental health problems. This association remained significant after adjustment for social, behavioral, and food-related disorders.
““The study revealed that hyperactivity and distress were more prevalent in teenagers who consumed an inordinate amount of sugar-based drinks – with those who drank four or more soft drinks a day displaying increased symptoms,” said Dr. Mike Headlee, a chiropractor whose family wellness practice is located in Canton.
“These findings emphasize the need for young people to limit their consumption of sugar – especially the sugar-loaded soft drinks that so many teens crave,” added Headlee whose standard course of care includes nutritional planning.
Not all the news is bad for today’s teens.
The University of Minneapolis School of Public Health studied 2,761 high school seniors to explore the correlation between multi-vitamin supplement use and lifestyle decisions. The study – published in the December 2006 edition of The Journal of the American Diabetic Association – established that teenagers who take multi-vitamin supplements are more likely to exhibit a healthier attitude toward life including a greater willingness to exercise and eat more nutritious foods.
“Vitamins are not magic pills. But, it was clearly evident in the study that vitamin users were more likely to be involved in school and extra-curricular sports, they watched less television per day, and they were less likely to be smokers or to be overweight,” noted Headlee.
“This is not rocket science. If you want to lead a healthier life – both physically and mentally – the equation is simple. Be fit. Eat right. Think well. It’s a credo that applies to people of all ages and walks of life,” concluded Headlee.