Under 5 years of age, children should not be given sugary drinks, neither with sucrose nor with sweeteners; no chocolate or flavored milk, nor caffeinated drinks. American pediatricians say so
For the first five years of life, children must drink water and milk. Stop. Very little 100% fruit juice and only after the year. These are the new guidelines drawn up by a panel of American experts who aim to raise awareness among parents about diabetes and obesity, today’s major diseases of the most developed countries. Drinks other than milk and water are very rich in added sugars and calories and represent a health trap, scientists from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics warn.
“For the first 6 months of life, infants must drink only breast milk or formula. At six months water can be introduced. Children who take infant formula can switch to cow’s milk when they are one year old, “explain the doctors.
Under 5 years, children should not be given sugary drinks, neither with sucrose nor with sweeteners; no chocolate or flavored milk, nor caffeinated drinks. Vegetable drinks such as soy milk, almonds or rice should also be avoided, even if soy is the best alternative for those who do not want or cannot give cow’s milk to their children. Finally, no to the stocks of fruit juices packaged (and enriched with glucose syrup, sugars, flavors) in practical briquettes, in bottles like bottles or to be squeezed.
The only concession is a juice with 100% fruit, occasionally drunk. “Children don’t need juice and it is healthier to eat fruit directly,” said the panel of experts. Excessive consumption of juices, in fact, can lead to dental caries and weight gain and is linked to poor general nutrition.
The panel’s recommendations are intended to be a guide resource for food re-education in a country where 19% of children are obese with the risk of developing chronic diseases. “Nearly half of children ages 2 to 5 drink sugary drinks every day,” Megan Lott, deputy director of Health Eating Research , told the New York Times . About a third of children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese, conditions that increase the risk of developing chronic diseases, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
In Italy it is better but there is little to cheer. According to a study conducted by the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital and published in the scientific journal JAMA Pediatrics, 10% of children aged 2 to 6 are overweight or obese. The research involved more than 5,700 children between 2 and 6 years of age, all visited by pediatricians of the FIMP (Italian Federation of Pediatric Doctors) between 2011 and 2012. Of these children, about 600 (10% precisely) developed overweight or obesity in the past year and – out of 219 children – researchers were able to perform detailed blood tests. Of the 219 children examined, almost 40 percent had at least one abnormal reading in their metabolism such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar or low levels of “good” cholesterol.
Specifically, 35% insulin resistance was detected; in 39% at least one metabolic complication; in 6% a condition of pre-diabetes; for 25% high cholesterol values and in 13% hypertension. About a third of children have had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or an accumulation of fatty deposits in the liver. Values that have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes in adult studies. The study found that these children also have a higher body mass index (BMI) than obese children but who do not have metabolic abnormalities. The results show that metabolic changes related to obesity are already present in preschool, despite the fact that the children have been overweight or obese for a short time.
“The results show that the risk of metabolic alterations related to obesity begins to manifest itself early in the natural history of weight gain” explains Dr. Melania Manco, researcher of Multifactorial Diseases and Complex Phenotypes of the Child Jesus.
Here then is the calendar of drinks suitable for children:
From birth to sixth month: The baby can only drink breast milk or formula milk
From 6 to 12 months: The baby drinks mainly milk, but with the start of weaning he can also start drinking water.
From the twelfth month to the second year of age : Babies can drink from one to 4 glasses of water per day. Milk is pasteurized whole milk. The juice (strictly 100% fruit) must not exceed 20 milliliters per day.
From 2 to 3 years: Still water and milk, now partially skimmed. And 110 milliliters of juice per day.
From 4 to 5 years: The child drinks up to 5 glasses of water per day, partially skimmed milk and maximum 150 milliliters of juice per day. No other drinks are allowed yet.