Parents urged to avoid giving babies fruit juice

24 May 2017

Parents are being urged not to give their children fruit juice before the age of one.

New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that juice should not be given to babies unless advised by a doctor, and that intake should be limited to toddlers and older children.

Dr Steven A. Abrams, report co-author and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas, stated that the AAP had previously advised parents not to give children juice until they reached six months of age, but they have now updated the guidelines in the face of rising obesity rates and concern around childhood dental decay.

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"The new advice indicates that fruit juice should not be provided to children younger than 1 year of age unless there is a strong clinical basis for it in the management of constipation," the guideline authors said in a statement. "For older children, maximum daily intakes of 100 percent juice products should be four ounces (120 millilitres) for children ages one-three years, four-six ounces (120-170ml) for children ages four-six years and eight ounces (230ml) of those seven and older."

Another update to AAP's recommendations is that parents should not give children juice in bottles or sippy cups that make it easy to consume throughout the day, nor should they be given juice at bedtime. The health experts have expressed concern that this method of consumption may prolong exposure of teeth to sugars in juice and lead to cavities.

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"The practice of allowing children to carry a bottle, easily transportable covered cup, open cup, or box of juice around throughout the day leads to excessive exposure of the teeth to carbohydrate, which promotes the development of dental caries," the authors noted.

However, the academics do emphasise the importance of fresh, whole fruits in children’s diets to boost fibre intake.

The AAP's new policy recommendations have been published in journal Paediatrics.

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