OJ Not Associated With Weight Gain in Children

Ernie NeffOrange Juice

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New research shows no adverse association between change in body mass index (BMI) and consumption of 100% orange juice (OJ) among older children. The four-year study published in Pediatric Obesity found that drinking 100% OJ was associated with smaller changes in BMI over time in girls, with no significant effect on BMI in boys.

The analysis by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Harvard’s School of Public Health and Medical School included children ages 9 to 16 who were followed from 2004 through 2008. The analysis showed there was a clear lack of a connection between orange juice and increased BMI in this age group.

OJ contributed, on average, between 40 to 50 calories to the daily diet while milk contributed almost four times that amount, from 150 to 180 calories. This amount of OJ represents under 4 ounces per day on average, which falls well below the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The academy suggests limits for 100% fruit juice consumption of 8 ounces daily for children over 7. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans counts 100% fruit juice as a fruit serving and recommends that primary beverages either be calorie free — especially water — or contribute beneficial nutrients, such as fat-free and low-fat milk and 100% fruit juice.

“Children in this age group fail to consume adequate amounts of fruit and certain micronutrients such as vitamin C and potassium,” said Rosa Walsh, director of scientific research at the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC). “Although the preferred choice is whole fruit, this research supports that moderate consumption of 100% orange juice can be a beneficial addition to the diet to help meet fruit intake recommendations and is unlikely to contribute to childhood obesity.”

This study, funded by the FDOC, adds to a growing body of scientific research supporting the role of 100% orange juice in adults’ and children’s diets.

See more evidence showing that OJ contributes to children’s health.

Source: Florida Department of Citrus

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