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American Girls Drink More Soda Than Milk

A 10-year study -- published in the journal Pediatrics -- analyzed the drinking habits of more than 2,300 girls between the ages of 9 and 19.

When the study began, milk was the most popular drink. By the end, milk consumption had fallen by 25 percent. Soda intake however, had tripled, making it the most popular beverage among older girls.

Elisa Zied is a dietitian with the American Dietetic Association and author of a new book called, "So What Can I Eat?" She says one reason older teens are choosing soda more often is that the drink is readily available wherever teenagers go. "The mall food courts, ball games, restaurants," Zeid says. "The problem is that milk is not always offered at these places. And, teens are eating tons of fast food, which is accompanied by soda."

Zied says choosing soda over milk is a bad health choice. "It really wrecks havoc on bones. And teenage girls need more calcium than any other population group. They need about 1300 milligrams," she says. "The dietary guidelines for Americans recommend the equivalent of about four cups of milk a day. They say that if you get one or two cups and then supplement with other calcium sources, that's a good way to get it."

Zied advises parents to encourage girls to have at least one or two cups of milk a day. She says that teenage girls are notorious for skipping breakfast. "Make sure," she advises, "that they have some breakfast and not grab soda as they are commonly doing and instead grab some milk."

Zied also recommends plenty of fruits and vegetables in the diet and lots of water to drink. She says keep soda out of the house, except for special occasions.