OJ Proves Beneficial for Youth

Ernie NeffOrange Juice, Research

OJ

A new, four-year study published in Public Health Nutrition found that drinking 100 percent orange juice (OJ) is not associated with negative effects on body weight, body mass index (BMI) or BMI percentile among 9- to 16-year-olds. It also found that higher OJ consumption is associated with increased height for girls and increased trends for physical activity levels in both boys and girls.

The study is part of a growing body of nutrition research suggesting that children and teens can benefit from regularly drinking 100 percent OJ without concerns about weight gain.

Based on the analysis by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Harvard Medical School, the lack of a connection between OJ consumption and increased body weight held true whether kids consumed just one glass of OJ a month or one glass of OJ per day. Average consumption of 100 percent OJ among study participants was 2.6 6-ounce glasses per week for boys and 2.2 6-ounce glasses per week for girls. This level of consumption is well within the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests limits for 100 percent fruit juice consumption of 8 ounces daily for children over seven.

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“I hope our findings reassure parents and health educators that regularly enjoying a glass of 100 percent orange juice can provide kids with beneficial nutrients without increasing the risk of becoming overweight or obese,” said Ock Chun, professor in nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut and principal investigator of the study. “In fact, consuming 100 percent orange juice regularly could help address shortfalls in the diet and bolster intake of key nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, folate, thiamin and riboflavin, as well as calcium and vitamin D found in fortified OJ.”

This study was funded by an unrestricted grant from the Florida Department of Citrus. Among other things, the department defends the industry against claims that citrus may be harmful to health; see an example of such defense here.

Source: Florida Department of Citrus

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