Study: Pediatric Fruit Juice Consumption Associated with Healthier Diets Later in Life

The authors said that it is imperative to increase total fruit and whole fruit consumption in younger populations, especially adolescents.

Drinking 100% fruit juice between 3 and 6 years of age is associated with healthier dietary patterns in later childhood and adversely impacts weight gain, according to a new study from Boston University.1

The data were collected from 100 children between 3 and 6 years old enrolled in the Framingham Children’s Study and dietary data were collected annually using multiple sets of 3-day diet records. Compliance with dietary recommendations was based on 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the quality of diets was measured using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI).1

According to the findings, children who drink 1 or more cups of 100% fruit juice each day were found to consume 0.9 more cups per day of total fruit and 0.5 more cups per day of whole fruit during adolescence. Similarly, HEI scores for adolescents with the highest amount of preschool juice intake were almost 6 points higher than those with the lowest fruit juice intakes.1

“We know that whole fruit intake as well as diet quality typically decline from early childhood through adolescence,” said researcher Lynn Moore, DSc, an associate professor at the Boston University School of Medicine, in a statement.2

Finally, in the multivariable models the investigators concluded that there was no association between fruit juice consumption and BMI change throughout childhood.1

The authors said that it is imperative to increase total fruit and whole fruit consumption in younger populations, especially adolescents. They cited recent data, which suggest that just 8.5% of high school students meet the current USDA recommendation for fruit intake, and other evidence has shown that dietary intake patterns are established early in life.1

“Fruit consumption, particularly whole fruit consumption, has many health benefits throughout the lifespan,” Moore said. “Avoiding juice during these early formative years may have unintended effects on evolving dietary behaviors.”2

REFERENCES

  • Wan L, Jakkilinki P, Singer M, et al. A longitudinal study of fruit juice consumption during preschool years and subsequent diet quality and BMI. BMC Nutrition; May 14, 2020. https://bmcnutr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40795-020-00347-6. Accessed June 11, 2020.
  • New study finds drinking fruit juice in early years can have long term dietary benefits [news release]. EurekAlert; June 9, 2020. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-06/kc-n-nsf060920.php. Accessed June 11, 2020.