Juice Consumption among Children Aged 9 to 24 Months Participating in Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program

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INTRODUCTION: One out of every 100 deaths from an obesity-related disease is caused by sugary drink consumption. The National Center for Health Statistics reported in 2010, sugary beverages like soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, sweet tea, and energy drinks accounted for 46% of all added sugars in the American diet. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance in 2013, 27% of teens drank one or more soda per day, 19% drank two or more, and 11% drank three or more. Research has shown each additional 12 ounce soda a child consumes each day, attributes to an increased 60% chance of becoming obese during one and a half years of follow up time. Sugary drink consumption, childhood obesity, and low socio-economic status have been linked to increased likelihood of obesity during adulthood. Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a special supplemental nutrition program hoping to improve the health of low income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding mothers and their infants and children up to the age of 5. WIC provides food, nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and referrals to health services at no charge. The WIC program is designed to supplement the participant’s diet. According to food packages in Tennessee, mothers are allowed to buy 100% fruit juice in the form of two 64 ounce bottles, 48 ounces shelf stable or frozen reconstitute, three 48 ounce bottles, or one 96 ounce bottle. This study compares sugary drink consumption of WIC-participating infants and mothers to non WIC participants and aims to identify any disparities. METHODS: Data were obtained through ReadNPlay for a Bright Future, a program advocating for healthy active living among families with young children. Surveys were generated to assess the health and demographics of mothers and their children living in the area. A convenience sample was utilized by voluntary and anonymous submission of surveys by mothers with babies aged 9-24 months, who visited a local pediatric clinic. Collection of 320 surveys was achieved during four separate time frames within 2013-2015. The association between sugary drink consumption in children and WIC is being examined using linear regression. RESULTS: Preliminary data analysis revealed 69.3% of the total sample (n=226) was enrolled in WIC. 89% of mothers reported having a high school degree during the most recent data collection. Mothers reported their infants consumed an average of 4.6 ounces of sugary drinks daily (range 1-15 ounces). 66.4% of mothers reported consuming at least one sugary drink daily, while 27.1% reported consuming 3 or more daily. CONCLUSION: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants and children should be given milk or water instead of 100% fruit juice to reduce the amount of unneeded calories and sugar. If juice is given it is recommended to limit consumption to 4-6 ounces per day. Some types of 100% fruit juice, such as grape juice, have more sugar per ounce than soda. The results of this analysis may help to evaluate the healthfulness of the current WIC food package and identify high risk groups for counseling on sugary drink consumption.


Johnson City, TN

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