Sugar-sweetened drinks are not replacing milk in kid's diets

July 18, 2012, Elsevier

National data indicate that milk consumption has declined among children while consumption of sweetened beverages of low nutritional quality has more than doubled. Although this suggests that sugar-sweetened beverages may have replaced more nutritious drinks in children's diets, a new study suggests that in fact changes in children's milk consumption are not significantly related to changes in their consumption of sodas and flavored fruit drinks over time. The results are published online today in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

"We found that children's milk consumption did decrease between 5th and 8th grade, but the changes weren't related to changes in their consumption of sweetened beverages," reports lead investigator Reena Oza-Frank, PhD, RD, in the Center for Perinatal Research of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Department of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. "In addition, regardless of how much sweetened beverages children consumed, milk and 100% fruit juice were complements in children's diets. Children increased or decreased their intake of both in tandem."

Researchers studied beverage consumption among 7,445 students who were part of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K), a nationally representative study of children from kindergarten to 8th grade. The children filled out a questionnaire in the 5th and 8th grades that included questions about how much and how frequently they consumed milk, 100% fruit juice, and sweetened beverages. Investigators compared the data to measure changes in consumption over time. The analysis accounted for and and factors such as public versus private , whether the child ate or breakfast regularly, and whether the child received free or reduced-price lunch at school. Other nutrition indicators included were changes in consumption of vegetables, fruits, and fast food.

Overall, children's reported caloric drink servings per week fell significantly between 5th and 8th grade. Milk consumption fell while consumption of 100% fruit juice increased, regardless of sweetened . Milk consumption fell more among children who drank any sweetened beverages than among those who drank none. The decline in milk consumption was even larger among children who drank sweetened beverages daily; that group drank an average two fewer glasses of milk in the 8th grade than they had in the 5th grade. Children who drank sweetened beverages were more often male and white. Those who drank sweetened beverages daily more often attended public school, ate school lunch or breakfast regularly, and received a free or reduced price school lunch.

However, controlling for demographic and nutrition characteristics, changes in children's milk and juice consumption were not significantly related to changes in their consumption of sweetened beverages over time, indicating that sweetened beverages did not replace other caloric beverages in children's diets. Children who increased their also increased their juice consumption over the three-year period, indicating that milk and juice are complements, not substitutes, in children's diets. "Analysis of multiple subpopulations indicates that milk and juice consumption increased or decreased in tandem for most children," says Dr. Oza-Frank.

Of concern, Dr. Oza-Frank notes, is that as children increase their intake of one high caloric beverage, they also increase their intake of others. "It's important for [food and nutrition practitioners] to help children and families understand that caloric beverages, even those that are generally healthful, contribute to children's total calorie intake and must be moderated as a part of a healthy diet," she says.

Explore further: New study says soft drink consumption not the major contributor to childhood obesity

More information: “Beverage Displacement between Elementary and Middle School, 2004-2007,” by Reena Oza-Frank, PhD, RD, Madeline Zavodny, PhD, Solveig A. Cunningham, PhD. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.05.011

Related Stories

New study says soft drink consumption not the major contributor to childhood obesity

June 14, 2012
Most children and youth who consume soft drinks and other sweetened beverages, such as fruit punch and lemonade, are not at any higher risk for obesity than their peers who drink healthy beverages, says a new study published ...

Banning sugar-sweetened beverages in schools does not reduce consumption: study

November 7, 2011
State policies banning all sugar-sweetened beverages in schools are associated with reduced in-school access and purchase of these beverages, however these policies are not associated with a reduction in overall consumption ...

The truth about advertising junk food to children: It works

May 10, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Children exposed to advertisements for high-calorie and nutrient-poor foods consume more unhealthy foods overall, regardless of the specific product and brand being marketed, finds a new study from the ...

Recommended for you

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.