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New drink guidelines for young children

When should your child have juice and how much?
Credit: Healthy Eating Research

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There are new recommendations about what your young child should be drinking and when.  It probably won't be a surprise that kids shouldn't be drinking sodas and sports drinks, but it might be eye-opening what kind of health problems sugary drinks can lead to.

Many parents think about whether their kids are eating healthy, but what about what they're drinking. Natalie Muth is a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "Nearly half of children ages 2-5 drink a sugary drink every day. Drinks like sports drinks and sodas and fruit drinks. These drinks increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, and other health problems."

Several leading health organizations are supporting new recommendations that keep, even juice, out of a baby's diet until they reach a year old.  Sticking with formula or breast milk through 6 months, and at that point, Muth says you should only add in a small amount of water. "Toddlers 12 to 24 months can drink whole milk along with some water for hydration. A small amount of juice is OK at this age, but it's better if the fruit comes from whole fruit rather than juice."

Megan Lott is the Deputy Director of the group, Healthy Eating Research. "If you do offer your child juice, remember diluting it with water can go a long way."

Lott says when a child is two, juice can be given but limited to 6 ounces a day.  "But again, it's really important, because too much juice adds to much extra sugar and calories to a young child's diet and can lead to later health problems."

Muth has one more piece of advice for parents. "While these recommendations will work for most healthy children, it's always best to consult your child's own pediatrician for any specific needs."

To read more about the research and the guidelines, click here.

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