Published: April 2022

ID #: 76336

Journal: Am J Prev Med

Authors: Hua SV, Musicus AA, Thorndike AN, Kenney EL, Rimm EB

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Fruit drinks are a major source of added sugar in children’s diets. This study describes the associations between front-of-package child-directed marketing (i.e., sports, fantasy, or child-directed imagery; child-directed text) and (1) health-related claims and (2) nutrient content of fruit drinks, 100% juices, and flavored waters. Beverage purchase data from a national sample of 1,048 households with children aged 0–5 years were linked with front-of-package label and nutrition data to conduct a content analysis on fruit drinks (n=510), 100% juices (n=337), and noncarbonated flavored waters (n=40) in 2019–2020. Unstratified and stratified regression models assessed the differences in the prevalence of claims (macronutrient, micronutrient, natural/healthy, and fruit and juice), non-nutritive sweeteners, and nutrient content (calories, total sugar, and percent daily value of vitamin C) between drinks with and those without child-directed marketing in 2021. Fruit drinks with child-directed marketing were more likely to show front-of-package micronutrient claims and contained more vitamin C than fruit drinks without child-directed marketing. 100% juices with child-directed marketing contained less vitamin C and 3.0 fewer grams of sugar than 100% juices without child-directed marketing. Flavored waters with child-directed marketing contained less vitamin C than flavored waters without child-directed marketing. The combination of child-directed marketing with health-related claims may mislead parents into believing that fruit drinks are healthy and appealing to their children, highlighting the need for government regulation of sugary drink marketing.

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