No Link Between 100% Juice and Kids' Overweight: Study

But more than half of children drink no juice at all, researchers say

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WEDNESDAY, May 9, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking 100 percent juice won't boost young children's risk for becoming overweight, according to a U.S. study that looked at the dietary habits of 3,618 children, ages 2 to 11.

"We did not find a relationship between 100 percent juice consumption and overweight among children. Even among the children who consumed the most juice, we found no association at all with the children being overweight or at risk for overweight," Dr. Theresa Nicklas, a child nutrition researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture's Children's Nutrition Research Center at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said in a prepared statement.

The findings were expected to be presented today at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meetings, in Toronto, Canada.

Drinking 100 percent juice also had no impact on the amount of milk kids consumed, Nicklas said.

The mean daily consumption of 100 percent juice among the children in the study was 4.1 ounces (about 1/2 cup), which is in keeping with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

About 13 percent of the children consumed 12 ounces or more of 100 percent juice a day, but this increased consumption was not associated with overweight or increased risk for being overweight.

In fact, the researchers found that children ages 2 to 3 who drank the most 100 percent juice were nearly three times less likely to be overweight or at risk for overweight than children the same age who did not drink any 100 percent juice.

The study also found that children ages 2 to 11 who drank any amount of 100 percent juice had healthier overall diets -- they ate less total fat, saturated fat, sodium, added sugars and added fats. They also had higher intakes of important nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, folate, B6 and iron, and ate more fruit.

Nicklas and her colleagues were surprised to find that 57 percent of the children in the study drank no juice at all.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about healthy eating for children.

SOURCE: Baylor College of Medicine, news release, May 8, 2007

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