According to a new peer-reviewed article by a team of nutrition researchers at Michigan State University published in the current issue of Family Economics and Nutrition Review, soft drinks are not replacing milk in the diets of children age 1-19. Indeed, among children age 1-5 and girls age 15-19, soft drink consumption has significantly declined during the ten year study period, 1987-1998. Full text of the journal article is available at:http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/FENR/FENRv14n2/fenrv14n2p69.pdf .
A major strength of this study is that the two weeks of consumption data were collected in a food journal instead of a recall basis which has accuracy limitations. The beverages intake evaluated included: milk (whole, low fat and skim), regular and diet carbonated soft drinks, fruit juices, fruit drinks, powdered soft drinks and tea (hot, cold, herbal and ready-to-drink). "Other" beverages included: coffee, breakfast drinks, beer and alcohol. The journal is published by the US Department of Agriculture.
Highlights of the researchers' findings include:1. Milk, carbonated soft drinks and juices were the most commonly consumed beverages across all age groups 2. "No conclusive evidence has indicated that carbonated soft drinks are the 'cause' of low intakes of other beverage or that they are displacing other beverages in the diet . . . " (p.70) 3. ". . . we found no significant decline in the prevalence of children's milk consumption over the past decade, nor did we find an increase in the prevalence of carbonated soft drink consumption." (p. 74) 4. ". . . no data in our study support the theory that carbonated soft drinks are displacing milk in children's diet" (p. 75) 5. During the study period the consumption of carbonated soft drinks decreased significantly for children age 1-5 while consumption of milk for all groups remained stable. (p. 69) 6. "Significant changes in children's diets over the 10-year period includes an increase in the amounts of milk and juice consumed by 1-5 year old children, a decrease in the quantity of carbonated soft drinks consumed by 1-5 year old children and 15-19 year old girls, as well as in increase in the quantity of fruit drinks consumed by all children." (p. 76)
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Family Economics and Nutrition Review, 2003 (2003)