Background: In recent years, a possible association between excessive consumption of fruit juice (> or =12 fl oz per day) and short stature and/or obesity has been discussed. The association among the consumption of fruit juice, anthropometric indices, and the overall diet was examined during a 3-year period in a sample of healthy preschool children participating in the Dortmund Nutritional and Anthropometrical Longitudinally Designed (DONALD) Study.
Methods: Two hundred five children were examined annually at the ages of 3, 4, and 5 years. Dietary intake was calculated from 3-day weighed diet records. Height was measured using a stadiometer. Weight was measured using an electronic scale.
Results: Five children consumed excessive fruit juice continually in all three records, 10 children in two records, and 23 children in one record. None of the five children with repeatedly excessive fruit juice consumption was obese or short. Growth velocity, body mass index, and height standard deviation score were not correlated with fruit juice consumption. Consumption of fruit juice was inversely correlated with the consumption of all other beverages and the total consumption of all other food. The intake of protein, fat, and carbohydrates of children consuming excessive fruit juice was closer to the international dietary preventive guidelines than the intake of children consuming low amounts of fruit juice.
Conclusions: In the study sample, even repeatedly excessive fruit juice consumption had no influence on anthropometric indices. The results do not justify a general warning or a general promotion regarding high fruit juice consumption in preschool children's diets.