“As a pediatrician, I know what a child drinks can be almost as important as what they eat, in terms of a healthy diet. This is especially true for very young children,” said Natalie Muth, MD, who represented the American Academy of Pediatrics on the expert panel. “We know that children learn what flavors they prefer at a very early age—as young as 9 months—and these preferences can last through childhood and adulthood. That’s why it’s important to set them on a healthy course, and this guide will help parents and caregivers do that.”
“Nearly 40,000 people in the U.S. die each year from heart problems due to overconsumption of sugary drinks. This is unhealthy and unacceptable, and the seismic shift in our culture needed to change this status quomust start with our kids,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association.“The American Heart Association is proud to endorse these guidelines and stand with parents, caregivers, medical professionals, restaurant owners and policymakers who canhelp ensure a healthier future for our kids.”
To develop the evidence-based recommendations, HER conducted an extensive review of scientific literature, existing guidelines from national and international bodies, and reports on early childhood beverage consumption. It also convened an expert panel of representatives from AAP, AHA, the Academy, and AAPD and a scientific advisory committee whose members discussed and reviewed the preliminary and final recommendations. Panelists and committee members were experts in pediatrics, early childhood nutrition, dentistry, and dietary and nutrition guidance.
“Choosing healthful beverages for children is just as important as choosing healthful foods,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Terri J. Raymond, president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “These consensus recommendations provide a strong base for registered dietitian nutritionists and health care practitioners to help educate children and parents alike, and create examples of healthy dietary patterns for children ages 0 to 5 in order to support optimal physical and cognitive growth and development as well as overall health.”“Choosing drinks wisely for your child is crucial to good oral health; that’s why we talk about it during the age-one dental visit,” said AAPD president Kevin Donly, DDS, MS. “A child with a healthy smile can eat, speak, play, and learn more easily than a child suffering from tooth decay.”
The full guidelines and accompanying technical report can be found at www.healthydrinkshealthykids.org. This site also contains a set of parent-focused one-minute videos, in English and Spanish, covering all the different topics included in the guidelines such as tips for swapping out sugary drinks and understanding different types of milk. Additional materials including infographics are also available.