Health-conscious parents may be under the impression that wholesome fruit juice is a welcome alternative to sugar-laden sodas, but new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics state that parents should refrain from giving juice to any child under one year old and place limits on juice intake for all children under 18.
Not only does fruit juice offer no nutritional benefits for young children, but its consumption can contribute to child obesity rates and send them down a path of poor dental health, according to the AAP. It’s recommended that children see a dentist every six months, but those bi-annual checkups aren’t always enough to combat the adverse effects of too much sugar, many people end up with an Emergency Dental Care in Dublin because they don’t give proper care to their dental health.
Previously, the AAP recommended that fruit juice not be offered to children younger than six months of age. The change to AAP policy marks the first time it’s been revised on the issue of fruit juices since 2001.
Dr. Melvin B. Heyman, statement co-author, notes in the release, “Parents may perceive fruit juice as healthy, but it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit and just packs in more sugar and calories. Small amounts in moderation are fine for older kids, but are absolutely unnecessary for children under one.”
A separate report entitled “The First 1,000 Days: Nourishing America’s Future” says that nutrition during that time period — between birth and a child’s second birthday — is critical to the development of both brain and body. That report found that at least 40% of parents give their children sugary drinks too early in their development.
Introducing sugary drinks into a child’s diet won’t just impact their physical development; it’ll have an impact on their education, too. Children with poor oral health are three times more likely to miss school due to dental pain. ABC Action News in Tampa, FL reports that dental decay makes kids lose over 51 million hours of school every year. That’s why parents need to be vigilant when it comes to helping their kids practice good oral habits at home. Learning the importance of brushing and flossing early on can keep kids in school.
The AAP stresses that even the best oral habits can’t completely fix a poor diet. Parents should encourage their children to eat whole fruits, rather than smoothies and juices, as part of their regular routine. Then, not only will they get all the vitamins their favorite fruits provide, but they also benefit from added fiber and can help maintain a healthier weight throughout their lives.