It is very important to inculcate healthy eating habits right from their childhood. This helps them stick to good dietary habits for the rest of their life. These days, kids are more inclined towards junk eating like fast foods, ready-to-eat processed foods, etc. They make faces when you try to feed them anything healthy. This is why mothers struggle to make their children eat healthy, home-cooked food as they grow. This makes them deficient in several nutrients that promote growth and development, especially in their growing years. A recent study has shown that drinking fresh fruits and fruit juices in the early years helps children build good dietary habits.
The health journal BMC Nutrition published this study which states that drinking 100% fresh fruit juices in childhood helps children maintain their fruit intake throughout adolescence. In the words of the lead author of this study Dr. Lynn L. Moore from Boston University, "We know that whole fruit intake, as well as diet quality, typically decline from early childhood through adolescence. This research provides important information showing that children who consumed about 1.5 cups of 100% fruit juice or Immunity-Boosting Homemade Juices per day during the preschool years tended to maintain healthier diets into adolescence than children who drank less than ½ cup per day during preschool. In addition, over ten years of follow-up, juice consumption within the range typically consumed by these children (1-2 cups per day) was not associated with excess weight gain during childhood."
Dr. Moore and his team from Boston University in association with Framingham Children’s Study conducted this research wherein they tracked the diet records of about 100 preschoolers aged between 3-6 years. They assessed their fruit consumption as per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans(DGA) along with their height and weight data.
Preschoolers who consumed more fruit juice in the early years of childhood in this study also consumed whole fruit at the same time and continued to consume whole fruit into adolescence. Here are the findings:
- Preschoolers who consumed one cup of fruit juice daily were found to consume higher fruits in adolescence as compared to those whose fruit juice intake was lower.
- Children who consume one cup of fruit juice daily were found to meet the dietary guidelines for fruit intake even in adolescence.
- The diet quality of children with higher fruit juice consumption was better than those who consumed fewer fruit juices in childhood.
Dr. Moore said, "Fruit consumption, particularly whole fruit consumption, has many health benefits throughout the lifespan. Avoiding juice during these early formative years may have unintended effects on evolving dietary behaviors.”
"This study confirms findings from several previous studies suggesting juice drinking in young children may promote better diet quality and higher intakes of the whole fruit. These benefits, associated with moderate intakes of 100% fruit juice, were not accompanied by any adverse effects on childhood weight," he concluded.
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