Flórida Citrus – New research shows no adverse association between change in Body Mass Index (BMI) and consumption of 100% orange juice among older children

New research shows no adverse association between change in Body Mass Index (BMI) and consumption of 100% orange juice among older children adding to a growing list of studies suggesting children and teens can benefit from regularly drinking 100% orange juice without concerns about weight gain. The four-year longitudinal study published in Pediatric Obesity found that drinking 100% orange juice was associated with smaller changes in BMI over time in girls, with no significant effect on BMI in boys.

The analysis by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Harvard’s School of Public Health and Medical School included children ages 9 to 16 who were followed from 2004 through 2008.1 The analysis showed there was a clear lack of a connection between orange juice and increased BMI in this age group. One hundred percent orange juice contributed, on average, between 40 to 50 calories to the daily diet while milk contributed almost four times that amount, from 150 to 180 calories. This amount of orange juice represents under 4 ounces per day on average, which falls well below the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests limits for 100% fruit juice consumption of 8 oz. daily for children over 7. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans counts 100% fruit juice as a fruit serving and recommends that primary beverages either be calorie free – especially water – or contribute beneficial nutrients, such as fat-free and low-fat milk and 100% fruit juice.2

“Children in this age group fail to consume adequate amounts of fruit and certain micronutrients such as vitamin C and potassium,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, Director of Scientific Research at the Florida Department of Citrus. “Although the preferred choice is whole fruit, this research supports that moderate consumption of 100% orange juice can be a beneficial addition to the diet to help meet fruit intake recommendations and is unlikely to contribute to childhood obesity.”

This longitudinal study, funded by an unrestricted grant by the Florida Department of Citrus, adds to the growing body of scientific research supporting the role of 100% orange juice in adults’ and children’s diets.

Another data analysis of nearly 14,000 Americans, ages 4 and older, concluded that people who drink 100% orange juice have lower BMI and healthier lifestyle behaviors than people who don’t drink orange juice.3

A longitudinal analysis of more than 7,300 children and adolescents in the GUTSII cohort concluded that 100% fruit juice or OJ intake was not associated with negative effects on body weight, BMI or BMI percentile. In fact, higher OJ intake was associated with greater changes (positive) in height for girls.4

A trend analysis for children reported that despite higher energy intakes, there was no significant difference in physical activity levels, percent overweight or obese, or BMI z-score when comparing kids who consume 100% orange juice versus those who don’t.5

A comprehensive review performed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for their Evidence Analysis Library examined the association between 100% fruit juice intake and weight in children and concluded that the evidence does not support an association between 100% fruit juice consumption and weight status or adiposity in children ages 2 to 18 years of age.6

Every glass of 100% orange juice supports overall health and can help adults and children meet intake recommendations for key nutrients they may be lacking in their diets. An 8-oz. serving size contains vital vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin C, potassium, folate, hesperidin and more, with no added sugar. From helping improve diet quality to providing key nutrients that can help support a healthy immune system, 100% orange juice offers a number of health benefits and can also easily be incorporated into simple, great-tasting recipes.