Panel advises against giving young kids flavored or plant-based milks

Despite efforts in recent years to improve healthy beverage intake among young children, many kids still do not consume enough healthy drinks to support their nutritional needs and development, according to a report issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Eating Research program. The program convened a panel of experts from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the AAP, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Heart Association to offer recommendations to encourage the consumption of healthy drinks in children up to age 5 years.

Among the recommendations, the panel cautioned against giving kids flavored milks — like chocolate or strawberry — sugar-sweetened and low-calorie sweetened beverages, caffeinated beverages and plant-based, nondairy milks like almond, rice or oat.

“Early childhood is an important time to start shaping nutrition habits and promote healthy beverage consumption,” Megan Lott, MPH, RD, deputy director of Healthy Eating Research, said in a news release. “By providing caregivers, health care and early care and education providers, policymakers, and beverage industry representatives a clear set of objective, science-based recommendations for healthy drink consumption, we can use this opportunity to work together and improve the health and well-being of infants and young children throughout the United States.”

According to recent recommendations, children aged 0 to 6 months should drink only breast milk or infant formula.
Source: Adobe Stock

To develop the recommendations, Healthy Eating Research convened the expert panel, reviewed approximately 50 existing reports on childhood beverage consumption and conducted structured narrative scientific literature reviews for beverages that had incomplete or no existing recommendations, the group explained.

The panel of experts issued recommendations for nine beverages. For plain drinking water and overall hydration, the panel noted that although water is essential for life, there is no single daily requirement of total water or fluid for a given person. Differences in physical activity, climate and other foods and beverages consumed impact individual fluid needs, according to the report. They recommended that children aged 0 to 6 months drink only breast milk or infant formula. Other age recommendations included a half-cup to 1 cup per day of plain, fluoridated drinking water in a cup during meal times for children aged 6 to 12 months, 1 to 4 cups per day for children aged 1 to 3 years and 1.5 to 5 cups per day for children aged 4 to 5 years.

For plain, pasteurized milk, the experts recommended no milk for children aged younger than 1 year and 2 to 3 cups per day of whole milk for children aged 1 to 2 years. They recommended that at age 2, children should transition to plain, pasteurized fat-free or low-fat milk, with a total daily milk intake up to 2 cups per day for children aged 2 to 3 years and up to 2.5 cups per day for children aged 4 to 5 years.

However, they noted that individual needs for children aged 1 to 2 years depend on the amount of solid food consumed, and less milk is needed to meet daily calcium and caloric needs as toddlers transition from a mainly liquid diet to more solid foods.

The experts recommended against 100% juice for children aged 0 to 12 months, and that children aged 1 to 3 years consume no more than 4 ounces of 100% juice per day, and children aged 4 to 5 years consume no more than 4 to 6 ounces.

The panel advised against any children consuming plant milks, flavored milk, toddler milk, sugar-sweetened beverages, beverages with low-calorie sweeteners and caffeinated beverages.

“We know that children learn what flavors they prefer at a very early age — as young as 9 months — and these preferences can last through childhood and adulthood,” Natalie Muth, MD, who represented the AAP on the panel, said in the release. “That’s why it’s important to set them on a healthy course, and this guide will help parents and caregivers do that.” – by Joe Gramigna

Reference:

Healthy Eating Research. Healthy beverage consumption in early childhood: Recommendations from key national health and nutrition organizations. https://healthyeatingresearch.org/research/consensus-statement-healthy-beverage-consumption-in-early-childhood-recommendations-from-key-national-health-and-nutrition-organizations/. Accessed September 19, 2019.

Disclosures: This study was supported by Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Despite efforts in recent years to improve healthy beverage intake among young children, many kids still do not consume enough healthy drinks to support their nutritional needs and development, according to a report issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Eating Research program. The program convened a panel of experts from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the AAP, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Heart Association to offer recommendations to encourage the consumption of healthy drinks in children up to age 5 years.

Among the recommendations, the panel cautioned against giving kids flavored milks — like chocolate or strawberry — sugar-sweetened and low-calorie sweetened beverages, caffeinated beverages and plant-based, nondairy milks like almond, rice or oat.

“Early childhood is an important time to start shaping nutrition habits and promote healthy beverage consumption,” Megan Lott, MPH, RD, deputy director of Healthy Eating Research, said in a news release. “By providing caregivers, health care and early care and education providers, policymakers, and beverage industry representatives a clear set of objective, science-based recommendations for healthy drink consumption, we can use this opportunity to work together and improve the health and well-being of infants and young children throughout the United States.”

According to recent recommendations, children aged 0 to 6 months should drink only breast milk or infant formula.
Source: Adobe Stock

To develop the recommendations, Healthy Eating Research convened the expert panel, reviewed approximately 50 existing reports on childhood beverage consumption and conducted structured narrative scientific literature reviews for beverages that had incomplete or no existing recommendations, the group explained.

The panel of experts issued recommendations for nine beverages. For plain drinking water and overall hydration, the panel noted that although water is essential for life, there is no single daily requirement of total water or fluid for a given person. Differences in physical activity, climate and other foods and beverages consumed impact individual fluid needs, according to the report. They recommended that children aged 0 to 6 months drink only breast milk or infant formula. Other age recommendations included a half-cup to 1 cup per day of plain, fluoridated drinking water in a cup during meal times for children aged 6 to 12 months, 1 to 4 cups per day for children aged 1 to 3 years and 1.5 to 5 cups per day for children aged 4 to 5 years.

For plain, pasteurized milk, the experts recommended no milk for children aged younger than 1 year and 2 to 3 cups per day of whole milk for children aged 1 to 2 years. They recommended that at age 2, children should transition to plain, pasteurized fat-free or low-fat milk, with a total daily milk intake up to 2 cups per day for children aged 2 to 3 years and up to 2.5 cups per day for children aged 4 to 5 years.

PAGE BREAK

However, they noted that individual needs for children aged 1 to 2 years depend on the amount of solid food consumed, and less milk is needed to meet daily calcium and caloric needs as toddlers transition from a mainly liquid diet to more solid foods.

The experts recommended against 100% juice for children aged 0 to 12 months, and that children aged 1 to 3 years consume no more than 4 ounces of 100% juice per day, and children aged 4 to 5 years consume no more than 4 to 6 ounces.

The panel advised against any children consuming plant milks, flavored milk, toddler milk, sugar-sweetened beverages, beverages with low-calorie sweeteners and caffeinated beverages.

“We know that children learn what flavors they prefer at a very early age — as young as 9 months — and these preferences can last through childhood and adulthood,” Natalie Muth, MD, who represented the AAP on the panel, said in the release. “That’s why it’s important to set them on a healthy course, and this guide will help parents and caregivers do that.” – by Joe Gramigna

Reference:

Healthy Eating Research. Healthy beverage consumption in early childhood: Recommendations from key national health and nutrition organizations. https://healthyeatingresearch.org/research/consensus-statement-healthy-beverage-consumption-in-early-childhood-recommendations-from-key-national-health-and-nutrition-organizations/. Accessed September 19, 2019.

Disclosures: This study was supported by Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.