BARTOW, Fla. – Moderate consumption of 100% orange juice should be encouraged in children due to its multiple health benefits and lack of negative impacts on body weight, according to a spate of recent and previous research studies on the topic.
Consuming 100% orange juice can help supplement the intake of key vitamins, minerals and health-associated bioactive compounds that may be missing in a child’s diet. A growing number of research studies has revealed that children who regularly drink 100% orange juice have higher intakes of key nutrients, higher quality diets, and may have healthier lifestyle habits, like greater physical activity levels, than children who do not drink OJ. Plus, recent studies align with past studies which help debunk the myth about 100% orange juice and weight gain by showing that OJ intake is not associated with weight gain in children.
“Misconceptions about the perceived lack of health benefits of 100% orange juice are unfortunate and could lead kids to potentially miss out on the nutritional benefits that OJ provides,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, director of scientific research at the Florida Department of Citrus. “However, study after study confirms that 100% orange juice not only has a place in the diets of children, but it can also serve as an easy way for parents to provide key nutrients without fear of adverse effect on body weight when served in moderation. By sharing the big picture these results show, we can help correct these misconceptions and empower both consumers and health professionals to make diet decisions grounded in scientific evidence.”
As Americans’ fruit and vegetable consumption continues to erode, particularly among young children, 100% orange juice could play a key role in providing some of the nutrients kids need. A 4 oz. serving of 100% orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C and an 8 oz. serving for older children is a good source of potassium, folate and thiamin while still meaningfully contributing these nutrients at smaller serving sizes. Fortified OJ additionally contributes calcium and vitamin D. Potassium, calcium and vitamin D are considered nutrients of public health concern in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Research also shows that children who drink 100% orange juice have higher total fruit consumption, lower intake of added sugar and tend to have higher diet quality and higher physical activity levels compared to those who do not drink OJ.1-4
Further,100% orange juice is not being overconsumed by children, despite reports to the contrary. In fact, orange juice consumption by children has declined in recent years along with the amount of key nutrients provided by it. On average, 100% orange juice accounts for less than 1% of total daily calorie intake in the diets of children and about 4% of calories from beverages.2 Children are on average consuming 100% orange juice well below the 100% juice limits established by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which supports 4 to 6 ounces for children under age 7 and 8 ounces for older children.
Lastly, consumption of 100% orange juice is not associated with overweight or obesity in children. In fact, research shows that in some cases, 100% orange juice consumers had less chance of having elevated body weight and may be taller compared to those who do not consume OJ.1-5 This lack of association between 100% orange juice intake and body weight is supported by both cross-sectional1-3,6,7 and longitudinal4,5 analyses.
For more information on the health benefits of 100% orange juice, visit FloridaJuice.com.
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 33,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.762 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.