Article Text

  1. T. O'Connor1,
  2. S. J. Yang2,
  3. T. Nicklas2
  1. 1Glaser Pediatric Research Network Fellow, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine
  2. 2Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX


Background A number of eating patterns have been associated with overweight among preschool-aged children. Recently, 100% fruit juice and sweetened fruit drinks have received a lot of attention as potential sources of high-energy, low-nutrient-dense beverages that could be related to the prevalence of obesity among young children.

Objective To investigate associations between types and amounts of beverages consumed and weight status in preschool-aged children.

Methods Children, 2 to 5 years old, were identified by a secondary analysis of the National Health and Nutritional Evaluation Survey (NHANES) 1999-2002 data. Beverages were classified based on the USDA Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies. Descriptive and chi-square analyses, as well as analysis of covariance, adjusting for age, gender, ethnicity, household income, calories, and physical activity were conducted.

Results Of the 1,160 children analyzed, 24.1% of the children were overweight or at risk for overweight (body mass index (BMI) $ 85%) and 10.7% were overweight (BMI $ 95%). The prevalence of children who drank milk, 100% fruit juice and fruit drinks, was 83%, 48%, and 44% respectively. Whole milk was consumed by 46.5% and skim milk and 1% milk were consumed by 3.1% and 5.5% of the children, respectively. Preschool children consumed a mean total beverage volume of 26.93 oz/day (SE 0.57); which included 12.32 oz of milk (SE 0.63), 4.70 oz of 100% fruit juice (SE 0.32), and 4.98 oz of fruit drinks (SE 0.38). Weight status of the child had no association with the amount of total beverages, milk, 100% fruit juice, or fruit drink consumed. Daily total energy intake increased with increased consumption of milk (p < .01), 100% fruit juice (p < .001), and fruit drinks (p < .01); however, there was not a statistically significant increase in BMI.

Conclusions Preschool children drink less milk than the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation of 16 ounces/day and only 8.6% drink low-fat or skim milk, as recommended. On average, preschool children drink less than 6 oz/day of 100% fruit juice. Increased beverage consumption increased the total energy intake of the children, but not their BMI. Prospectively studying preschool children beyond 2 to 5 years old, through their adiposity rebound (5.5-6 years) to see if there is a trajectory increase in their BMI, may help clarify the role of beverage consumption to total energy intake and weight status.

Statistics from

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.