Friday, May 26, 2017

American Academy of Pediatrics says children under the age of 1 should not be given fruit juice

Children who are less than a year old should not drink fruit juice because it offers them no nutritional benefit, according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy, but it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just packs in more sugar and calories,” said Dr. Melvin B. Heyman, co-author of the statement. “Small amounts in moderation are fine for older kids, but are absolutely unnecessary for children under 1.”

The statement, published in the journal Pediatrics, says the change was prompted by the rising rates of childhood obesity and concerns about dental health. The previous recommendation was no fruit juice under the age of 6 months.

The new recommendations for each age group are:
  • Children ages 1 to 3 should be limited to four ounces, or 1/2 cup, per day
  • Children 4 to 6 can have four to six ounces daily
  • Children and teens 7 to 18 should have no more than eight ounces, or 1 cup, per day
The statement also suggests:
  • Toddlers should not be given juice at bedtime.
  • Toddlers should not be given juice from bottles or sippy cups that allow them to sip on juice throughout the day. This constant exposure can cause tooth decay.
  • Children should eat whole fruits.
  • Unpasteurized juice is not recommended for children of any age.
  • If your child takes any medication, make sure grapefruit juice will not interfere with it. 
  • Fruit juice is not recommended to treat dehydration or diarrhea.
Dr. Nikki Stone, associate professor of dentistry at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, created a "Drink Pyramid" graphic to educate children about healthy drinking habits that reminds parents and children that juice should only be consumed once a day.

“We know that excessive fruit juice can lead to excessive weight gain and tooth decay,” said co-author Dr. Steven A. Abrams. “Pediatricians have a lot of information to share with families on how to provide the proper balance of fresh fruit within their child’s diet.”

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