Divorce and Separation Can Lead Kids to Drink More Soda

soda, divorce, Rolling Meadows family lawyerThe impact of soda and other sugary drinks on a person’s health is fairly well-known, at least among adults. Most realize that if consumed in excess, such beverages can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and a wide array of other health-related issues. However, children have seemingly always been drawn to soft drinks, either as a treat or, in some cases, a regular part of their daily routine. According to recent research, children of divorce may be even more inclined to drink soda and similar beverages, leading to an increased risk for health problems.

A study conducted at San Francisco State University and published online in the journal Childhood Obesity examined factors that contributed to pre-adolescent obesity. Researchers, led by psychology professor and department chair Jeff Cookston, interviewed parents and children in both intact and divorced families, asking them to track their eating habits. When the results were compiled, the findings showed that children of parents who had recently separated or divorced were far more likely to drink soda or sugar-sweetened beverages than children of currently married parents.

Considering the idea that divorce simply contributed to more unhealthy choices regarding food, the team also looked at number of other behaviors. However, skipping breakfast and meals outside the home did not seem to follow the same trend as soda consumption. Divorce and separation seemed to only impact beverage choice, possibly, according to Cookston , due to easy accessibility. “They’re quite pleasurable, and they’re accessible,” he said. “The brain reacts with a great deal of enjoyment when we have a soda or energy drink.”

The researchers also identified the maintaining of family routines as important to reducing soda consumption among children. Eating meals together regularly and making time for family activities, even after divorce, lowered the child’s likelihood to drink sugary beverages. “Children are looking for consistency in their family environment, and family routines provide that security and continuity,” Cookston observed. A family meal together, in addition to providing necessary food, is also a good opportunity for shared fun and family interaction, which offers children a sense of togetherness.

If you are considering divorce and are concerned about the impact it may have on your children, contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney. We offer a free initial consultation for you to ask questions and find the answers you need on how to take the next step. Our team is here to help so call us today.

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