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BARTOW, Fla. – A new study finds that children who drink 100% orange juice as part of a healthy diet have better overall diet quality and consume more nutrients than those who do not. The research also adds to a growing body of evidence showing consumption of 100% orange juice has no impact on weight in children.

Published in Pediatric Research and Child Health, the study authors conducted a nationally representative cross-sectional analysis of the diets and activity levels of 21,988 children ages 2 to 18 participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003 -2016. Among those who consumed 100% orange juice, the daily amount averaged 1.4 ounces.

Researchers found that children who consumed orange juice had significantly higher energy and food intakes, were more likely to engage in vigorous physical activity and, consistent with previous research, had no differences in weight status compared to children who did not drink orange juice.  As orange juice consumption increased so did intake of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, folate, thiamin, magnesium, and calcium at all ages, as well as vitamin D in older children. Vitamin C and potassium are under consumed nutrients and potassium is a nutrient of public health concern among children, according to the authors.

Additionally, increased OJ consumption led to higher diet quality overall as measured by Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores and increased total fruit consumption while sodium and saturated fat intake decreased.

“Research continues to support a valuable role for 100% orange juice in the diets of children. Parents should feel confident about serving their children orange juice, in appropriate amounts that meet the American Academy of Pediatrics’ juice guidelines, to get the nutrition benefits that 100% orange juice provides,” said Gail Rampersaud, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at the Florida Department of Citrus.

Funded by an unrestricted grant by the Florida Department of Citrus, the study also showed that overall prevalence of orange juice consumption among participants was low with only 16 percent of children ages 2 to 8 and 13 percent of children ages 9 to 18 reporting orange juice in their diets. The average amount consumed was also well below the American Academy of Pediatrics’ juice limits for 100% fruit juice consumption, which ranges from 4 to 8 ounces per day depending on age.  The study results indicate that there is no association between the amount of OJ consumed and whole fruit consumption, suggesting that OJ is not replacing whole fruit in the diet.

Every glass of 100% orange juice supports overall health and can help adults and children meet intake recommendations for key nutrients they may be lacking in their diets. An 8-oz. serving size contains vital vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin C, potassium, folate, hesperidin and more, with no added sugar. From helping improve diet quality to supporting a healthy immune system, 100% orange juice offers a number of health benefits and can also easily be incorporated into simple, great-tasting recipes.

About the Florida Department of Citrus

The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry.  Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels.  The industry employs more than 37,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.5 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org.