Study Shows OJ Benefits for Children

Ernie NeffOrange Juice

OJ

A new study finds that children who drink 100 percent orange juice (OJ) as part of a healthy diet have better overall diet quality and consume more nutrients than those who do not. The research also adds to a growing body of evidence showing consumption of 100 percent OJ has no impact on weight in children.

Authors of the study published in Pediatric Research and Child Health conducted a nationally representative cross-sectional analysis of the diets and activity levels of 21,988 children ages 2 to 18. The children were participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2016. Among those who consumed 100 percent OJ, the daily amount averaged 1.4 ounces.

Researchers found that children who consumed orange juice had significantly higher energy and food intakes, were more likely to engage in vigorous physical activity and, consistent with previous research, had no differences in weight status compared to children who did not drink OJ.  As OJ consumption increased, so did intake of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, folate, thiamin, magnesium and calcium at all ages, as well as vitamin D in older children. Vitamin C and potassium are under-consumed nutrients and potassium is a nutrient of public health concern among children, according to the authors.

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Additionally, increased OJ consumption led to higher diet quality overall as measured by Healthy Eating Index scores and increased total fruit consumption while sodium and saturated fat intake decreased.

“Parents should feel confident about serving their children orange juice, in appropriate amounts that meet the American Academy of Pediatrics’ juice guidelines, to get the nutrition benefits that 100 percent orange juice provides,” said Gail Rampersaud, registered dietitian nutritionist at the Florida Department of Citrus.

Funded by an unrestricted grant by the Florida Department of Citrus, the study also showed that overall prevalence of OJ consumption among participants was low with only 16 percent of children ages 2 to 8 and 13 percent of children ages 9 to 18 reporting OJ in their diets. The average amount consumed was also well below the American Academy of Pediatrics’ juice limits for 100 percent fruit juice consumption, which ranges from 4 to 8 ounces per day depending on age.

The study results indicate that there is no association between the amount of OJ consumed and whole fruit consumption, suggesting that OJ is not replacing whole fruit in the diet.

Learn about other recently approved research into the health benefits of OJ.

Source: Florida Department of Citrus

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