Background Sugar Sweetened Beverages contribute to obesity in older children but whether highly calorific Fruit Drinks (FD) contributes to preschool child obesity is unknown. We therefore quantified the beverage intake of preschool children and their parent’s knowledge of the sugar content.
Methods Parents of children aged 1–5 years attending three North East England Acute and Outpatient Paediatric centres over six months completed questionnaires. Volume and types of beverages consumed, recommended daily intake (RDI) and parental knowledge of calorie content of three popular FDs were collected. FD calories, as a percentage of RDI, were calculated and compared with the child’s BMI.
Results 304 questionnaires were analysed. 61% reported daily FDs with 33% exceeding their RDI. 28% were overweight or obese with the proportion rising from 24% in the under twos to 31% in the older children. Mean FD calorie intake as% of RDI was 5.5% with no association to increased BMI (p = 0.32. Mann Whitney U). Children in the lower and higher BMI centiles constituted the largest groups drinking >10% Fruit Drink RDI. Parents (99%) had no knowledge of their child’s calorie intake or RDI with 76% unable to identify the highest calorie FD.
Conclusion No association between Fruit Drink intake and obesity was found.
61% of children drank Fruit Drink daily with 33% in excess of RDI.
Overweight and underweight children constituted the largest groups drinking >10% RDI of Fruit Drinks
Parents were unaware of their children’s calorie intake, RDI or FD calorie content.