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More Water, Less Sugary Drinks Good for Kids

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When kids drink more water and less sugary drinks, rates of obesity decrease, a new study finds.

Researchers compared the body mass index of elementary and middle school students in New York City before and after getting water coolers installed in their schools.

Doctor Steve Cook, pediatrician at the University of Rochester Medical Center, says the findings in JAMA Pediatrics are positive. Cook encourages parents to limit the number of caloric beverages their children consume.

"There are so many beverages that kids drink. If we can get kids to drink more water it’s really going to be helpful," says Cook.

The doctor suggests keeping kids hydrated may keep them from mindless snacking.

"Thirst is a very big biological driver. It’s more so than hunger. So, if a child is misinterpreting a sensation as hunger and going to food as opposed to actually quenching their thirst, it sets up a pattern that the biology of the body has to respond to," says Cook.

After water coolers were installed, researchers observed kids increase their water consumption and drink less milk, including sugar-added chocolate milk.