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No Fruit Juice for Children Under One

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According to the new guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of one should not have fruit juice unless advised by a doctor. Previously, the AAP advised not to give juice to children under 6 months but this was raised to one year after obesity rates and tooth cavities increased. Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas and co-author of the policy statement, Dr. Stevens A. Abrams says, “We couldn’t really see any reason why juice was still part of the potential recommendation of 6 to 12 month old kids. We recommend breastfeeding or formula in that age group, and there really isn’t any need or beneficial role for juice, so we kind of made that adjustment.” This is the first change to their fruit juice recommendations since 2001. Abrams said, “It wasn’t some magical new science that inspired the alteration, but rather, this guideline hadn’t been looked at in a long time, so we thought it was time to take a close look.”

The policy statement states that kids and teens were the top consumers of juice and juice drinks in the United States. Abrams says, “The problem is, parents will stick a bottle or sippy cup in the kid’s mouth and kind of leave it there all day. That’s not good from the calorie-intake perspective, and it’s sure not good for the teeth. What happens is, the kid then gets used to all the sugar, and then they won’t drink water.” Even though they are not recommending fruit juice for young children, they say 100% fresh or reconstituted fruit juice is a healthy part of a balanced diet for children older than 1. But there are limitations to how much juice a child should have. Toddlers between ages 1 and 3 should only have 4 ounces of juice a day. Juice should be given in a cup and not a pouch or box. Pouches and boxes make it easy to drink juice all day. For children between the ages 4 and 6, they should only have 4 to 6 ounces daily. Children between 7 and 18 should have no more than 8 ounces a day. This makes up the recommended two to two and a half cups of fruit a day.

The AAP also discourages unpasteurized juice products. They also say that grapefruit juice should not be given to kids taking certain medications, ibuprofen, flurbiprofen, warfarin, phenytoin, fluvastatin and amitriptyline, because it interferes with their effects. Abrams says, “We primarily are supporting that kids learn how to eat fruit rather than fruit juice. I think that comes across more strongly than it has before.”

Fruit juice isn’t all that bad though. Orange juice has lots of vitamin C. Some juices have vitamin D and calcium. This is good for kids with dairy intolerance or who don’t like to drink milk.  Overall, fruit juice should be served in a cup and in moderation, but it is a key part to a healthy diet.

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/22/health/fruit-juice-kids-recommendation/index.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nancyhuehnergarth/2017/05/22/pediatricians-say-no-fruit-juice-for-children-under-one-year-less-for-older-kids/#6c08ffc644bb

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