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New research: Fruit juice consumption not related to overweight in children

Despite studies that assert otherwise, 100% fruit juice consumption is not related to overweight in children, according to the authors of “A Review of the Relationship Between 100% Fruit Juice Consumption and Weight in Children and Adolescents” in the May/June issue of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (AJLM), published by SAGE.

The statistics about overweight children are alarming. Over the past 20 years, there has been an increased prevalence of overweight and at-risk-for overweight in all ages and ethnic groups. In 2002, 10.3% of children 2-5 years of age were overweight, an increase from 7.2% in 1994. In males and females 12-17 years of age, waist circumference increased by 4.0% and 5.2%, respectively, between 1994 and 2004.

The article, authored by Carol E. O’Neil, PhD, MPH, LDN, RD, Louisiana State University, and Theresa A. Nicklas, DrPH, USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, examined 21 studies about a relationship between consumption of 100% fruit juice by children and adolescents and weight, and found “there is no systematic association between consumption of 100% fruit juice and overweight in children or adolescents.”

“Health professionals and policy makers should be encouraged to objectively review the literature on all beverages and encourage consumption of healthful beverages including water, milk, and 100% fruit juice,” according to the authors. “The data support the consumption of 100% fruit juice in moderate amounts, and this may be an important strategy to help children meet the current recommendations for fruit.”

“The rising epidemic of overweight and obese children should be a cause for great concern amongst healthcare professionals and the public at large,” said James M. Rippe, M.D., cardiologist and Editor in Chief of AJLM. “The findings that the consumption of 100% juice by children and adolescents is not associated with overweight is very important since 100% fruit juices are nutrient dense and their consumption represents an excellent way to help children meet the dietary guidelines for Americans. The article by O’Neil and Nicklas clears up misconceptions that many healthcare professionals and parents may have about this issue.”

Jim Gilden | EurekAlert!
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