Nobody ever claimed that soda pops were health foods. But now a Harvard University scientist reports that teen-age girls who drink sodas have a higher risk of bone fracture than girls who do not and that physically active girls who drink cola beverages have the highest fracture rate.
The study, to be published today in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship between drinking sodas and sustaining fractures, say experts. It lacks many details scientists would have liked to have seen, they add.
Despite these limitations, the finding shouldn't be ignored, they say. It speaks to a concern many health professionals have - that girls in particular aren't getting enough calcium in their diet; that they're drinking soft drinks instead of milk; and that insufficient calcium intake is heightening their risk in later life for thin, fragile bones that break more easily.
To try to get the country's girls on track, a multimillion dollar effort - the National Bone Health Campaign, sponsored by the Office on Women's Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the non-profit National Osteoporosis Foundation - will be launched in February 2001.
It will initially target girls aged 9 to 12, and parents and teachers, via mass media ads.