No fruit juice for children under one year

A recent change by the American Academy of Pediatrics may catch parents, grandparents and child care providers off guard since the previous fruit juice recommendations were implemented in 2001.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has overturned their previous recommendation from 2001 which allowed babies six months of age and older to consume up to 6 ounces of fruit juice daily. This significant change is based on mounting evidence associating fruit juice consumption and increased rates of childhood obesity and dental health concerns due to the sugar content of fruit juice. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Fruit juice provides no nutritional benefit for children under age 1 and should not be included in their diet.”

Consider how often through the past 16 years you may have seen a baby drinking fruit juice from a bottle or juice filled sippy cup and you will see there is a lot reeducation that needs to take place. New parents should be receiving the new juice recommendations from their pediatrician or the local Women, Infant and Children program (WIC); however, extended family, friends, day care providers and caregivers also need to be made aware that babies do not need and should not drink fruit juice until after their first birthday. It is unnecessary and could lead to a child’s inability to thrive and grow appropriately if over consumption of juice prevents them from eating properly.

Babies generally are developmentally ready for first foods at about six months. Pureed fruit can safely be introduced to a baby at this time. Michigan State University Extension encourages parents and caregivers to use the ChooseMyPlate website to model their toddlers eating patterns. It is recommended that toddlers ages 1-3 years eat one cup of fruit a day as part of their balanced diet. There are so many colorful fruit choices for toddlers to taste and explore.

The AAP recommends when serving 100 percent fruit juice or reconstituted juice to children ages 1-4, offer four ounces or less and serve this with a meal or snack and not at bedtime. The AAP also recommends serving only pasteurized fruit juice to young children. Be sure to read your nutrition facts label carefully to determine if the juice is 100 percent fruit juice and not a high sugar juice blend or fruit drink, and read the label to determine if the juice has been pasteurized to remove potential pathogens.

Stay up-to-date with current food and drink recommendations and put the new fruit juice policy immediately into practice. A baby’s heath is too important to ignore. 

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