A new report reveals that per capita soft drink consumption among US children has increased by nearly 500% over the past 50 years.

According to "Children's Eating Habits in the US: Trends and Implications for Food Marketers," a new report by market research publisher Packaged Facts, after the age of 10, soda is the most commonly-consumed beverage among children.

As high amounts of caffeine and phosphoric acid found in colas may impede the body's absorption and metabolism of calcium, the report says that these findings are troubling, as few American children consume adequate amounts of calcium. By forsaking milk for soft drinks, these children lose the opportunity to build the bone mass necessary to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis.

The report concludes that both marketers and parents can benefit from this information and cater to the US's children by offering healthier alternatives. One solution is to provide kids with flavoured dairy and yogurt drinks that provide both the flavour and nutrients growing bodies crave.

"There are many targets of finger-pointing when placing responsibility for childhood obesity," said Don Montuori, Acquisitions Editor for Packaged Facts.

"Soft drink manufacturers realise that they're in the cross hairs, and have responded by developing carbonated milk drinks - some sold only in schools - to offer a more nutritionally-appealing drink option for kids."

The report, priced at US$3000, can be purchased directly from Packaged Facts by clicking http://www.packagedfacts.com/pub/941485.html . It is also available through MarketResearch.com.