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CDC: Teens still drink milk, but one in four high school students drink soda every day

For those concerned about teens drinking too many sugary beverages, this may be good news: Water, milk and fruit juice are the drinks most likely to be consumed by high school students, not soda. Or so they say.

In a survey last year of high school students, 72% said they drink a glass of water each day, 42% drink at least one glass of milk, and 30% drink fruit juices daily.

Only 24% said they drank regular soda (or pop), though when other sugary drinks such as sports drinks, sweetened coffee drinks (ah, yes, those sweetened coffee drinks) or flavored milk were counted, almost 63% of high school students said they drank sweetened beverages daily. The numbers were reported online in a weekly report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overall, fewer students appear to be downing sugary beverages now than they did in the late ’80’s and early ’90’s when 84% of adolescents reported having at least one sweetened beverage a day.

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Possibly. After all, the new data depend on high school students accurately reporting what they drank over the last seven days; other studies have interviewed students about what they consumed in the past 24 hours. The CDC said it will conduct more studies to determine how large the underreporting (or overreporting) might be.

Whatever the true trend is, and whether removing vending machines from schools in many states has played a role, health officials have the same bottom line: Cut back on sugary drinks.

For a quick look at objects of their ire, check out CalorieCount for the sugar load in several popular drinks:

An 8-ounce serving of Pepsi has 100 calories and 27 grams of sugar.

A serving of Gatorade has half that: 50 calories, and 14 grams of sugar.

The same amount of a Red Bull energy drink has 106 calories, 26 from sugar.

Oh, but we can’t give juice a complete pass. One cup of Tropicana orange juice has 112 calories, with 22.5 grams of sugar.

Of course, what thirsty teen drinks only 8 ounces? Double or triple that amount might be more realistic.

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healthkey@tribune.com

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