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U-M Study Finds Kids In Low-Income Families Drink Too Much Juice

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ANN ARBOR (WWJ) - Too much of a good thing? A new report from the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital shows that kids in low-income families drink more juice than recommended.

The poll asked parents of young children of all economic levels about their children’s juice consumption. Overall, 35 percent of parents report that their children 1-5 years old have two or more cups of juice on a typical day – twice the amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Sarah Clark, M.P.H., Associate Director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the U-M, explained why it’s important to limit juice consumption in young children.

“There is such a strong link between consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and child health problems like obesity and early tooth decay,” Clark said in a statement. “For many obese children, sugary beverages make up a large proportion of their daily energy intake.”

Of parents whose household income is less than $30,000 annually, 49 percent report that their children drink two or more cups of juice per day. Only 23 percent of parents with household incomes of $100,000 or more report that their children drink two or more cups of juice per day. These findings are concerning, Clark said.

“Both childhood obesity and early dental problems are more prevalent in lower-income children, so the children we’re most worried about in terms of these conditions are also those who are drinking the most juice,” she said.

Some parents may encourage their children to drink juice because it can help their child receive the recommended servings of fruit consumed each day. Parents may think juice is an easy way for their child to get a serving of fruit, but it’s often difficult to pick out 100 percent fruit juice amid the sugar-sweetened juice drinks.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting fruit juice in children age 1-6 to one serving per day, while the recommendation for 100 percent fruit juice still is limited to no more than one serving per day.

The poll also found that 35 percent of lower-income parents said that their child’s doctor recommends juice — a message Clark said is important.

“Doctors need to be very specific in letting parents know that whole fruit is the best way to have a child get recommended servings of fruit and that fruit juice should be limited to no more than one serving per day for kids six years and younger,” she said.

To read the full report, visit mottnpch.org.

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