Many young children — particularly those in low-income households — drink too much juice, according to a new survey.
More than a third of parents surveyed, and about half of parents with a yearly household income of less than $30,000, reported their 1- to 5-year-olds drink two or more cups of juice on a typical day.
That's twice the amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which advices kids under age 6 drink just one serving of juice per day.
Too much juice puts kids at risk for health conditions such as childhood obesity and early tooth decay, the researchers said. Both of these conditions are more prevalent in low-income children.
"Parents may think juice is an easy way for their child to get a serving of fruit, but it's often difficult to pick out 100 percent fruit juice amid the sugar-sweetened juice drinks," said study researcher Sarah Clark, associate director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan. (The AAP recommends that even 100 percent fruit juice is limited to one serving per day.)
Children from higher-income households were less likely to drink more than the recommended daily amount of juice, the survey showed. Only 23 percent of parents with household incomes of $100,000 or more reported that their children drink two or more cups of juice per day.
The researchers expressed concern that the survey also found that 35 percent of lower-income parents said that their child's doctor recommends juice. "This is an important message for health care providers as well as parents," Clark said. "Doctors need to be very specific in letting parents know that whole fruit is the best way to have a child get recommended servings of fruit."
The survey was conducted by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Pollon Children's Health. The survey was administered to a nationally representative sample of 606 parents with a child ages 1 to 5.
Pass it on: Children under six should limit their juice consumption to one serving per day, according to the AAP.