Philadelphia, PA, July 18, 2012 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 food consumption 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 demographic characteristics and socioeconomic status and factors such as public versus private school attendance, whether the child ate school lunch or breakfast regularly, and whether the child received free or reduced-price
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