BARTOW, Fla. – A growingbody of nutrition research suggests that children and teens can benefit from regularly drinking 100% orange juice without concerns about weight gain. A new, four-year longitudinal study published in Public Health Nutrition found that drinking 100% orange juice is not associated with negative effects on body weight, BMI or BMI percentile among 9 to 16 year olds, and higher orange juice consumption is associated with increased height for girls and increased trends for physical activity levels in both boys and girls.
Based on the analysis by researchers at University of Connecticut and Harvard Medical School, the lack of a connection between orange juice consumption and increased body weight held true whether kids consumed just one glass of orange a month or one glass of orange juice per day. Average consumption of 100% orange juice among study participants was 2.6 6-oz. glasses per week for boys and 2.2 6 oz. glasses per week for girls. This level of consumption is well within the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests limits for 100% fruit juice consumption of 8 oz. daily for children over seven.
“The question of whether fruit juice intake causes poor health outcomes, such as weight gain in children has been a subject of controversy for years,” said Dr. Ock Chun, Professor in Nutritional Sciences at University of Connecticut and principal investigator of the study. “I hope our findings reassure parents and health educators that regularly enjoying a glass of 100% orange juice can provide kids with beneficial nutrients without increasing the risk of becoming overweight or obese. In fact, consuming 100% orange juice regularly could help address shortfalls in the diet and bolster intake of key nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, folate, thiamin, and riboflavin, as well as calcium and vitamin D found in fortified OJ.”
This longitudinal study, funded by an unrestricted grant by the Florida Department of Citrus, adds to the growing body of scientific research supporting the role of 100% orange juice in children’s diets.
- A data analysis of more than 7,000 kids, ages 2 to 18 found that consumption of 100% orange juice is associated with better diet quality, improved nutrient adequacy, and no increased risk for overweight or obesity in children.
- Another data analysis of nearly 14,000 Americans, ages 4 and older, concluded that people who drink 100% orange juice have lower BMI and healthier lifestyle behaviors than people who don’t drink orange juice.
- A cross-sectional analysis of more than 26,000 children and adolescents concluded that 100% orange juice consumption was not negatively associated with BMI in either boys or girls, but was positively associated with height, height-for-age, intake of fruit and non-starchy vegetables and physical activity levels.
- A trend analysis for children reported that despite higher energy intakes, there was no significant difference in physical activity levels, percent overweight or obese, or BMI z-score when comparing kids who consume 100% orange juice vs those who don’t.
- A comprehensive review performed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for their Evidence Analysis Library examined the association between 100% fruit juice intake and weight in children and concluded that the evidence does not support an association between 100% fruit juice consumption and weight status or adiposity in children ages 2 to 18 years of age.
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 sugar added. 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.