As childhood obesity continues to increase, researchers are looking at a link between what kids drink and their expanding waistlines.

While experts stop short of laying the blame completely at the feet of soda makers, most acknowledge that people in general, and kids specifically, consume too many soft drinks.

In an effort to curb the problem, some school districts are removing soda machines from school campuses -; and, some say, for good reason. One 12-ounce can of soda has 150 calories; a 20-ounce can has 250 calories.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, “Carbonated soft drinks are the single biggest source of calories in the American diet, providing about 7 percent of calories.” Non-carbonated drinks (such as fruit juice and iced teas) push that figure to 9 percent.

One study of 548 sixth and seventh-graders in Boston showed that each 12-ounce can of soda consumed increased their risk for becoming overweight by 60 percent, according to an article in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Besides having a high-sugar content – which can contribute to weight gain and promote tooth decay – there is little nutritional value in a can of soda, just empty calories.

So what’s a parent to do?

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be the first line of defense. But because what they drink matters just as much as what they eat, one option may be to consider replacing soda with a health beverage like NuVim, which contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, calcium; low amounts of sugar; and no caffeine.

Tested and proven effective in 19 clinical studies for its muscle flexibility and immune-boosting properties, this beverage contains the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, along with B-12, zinc, calcium and essential amino acids.

NuVim comes in a variety of fruit flavors and is located in the refrigerated juice section of your local supermarket.