Published: May 2023

Publisher: Healthy Eating Research

Authors: Kirsten Deuman

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In 2019, Healthy Eating Research (HER) developed recommendations on what children ages 0 to 5 should drink as part of a healthy diet, in partnership with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Heart Association. Having one set of uniform recommendations provided by health professionals is a key step towards getting U.S. children on a path to drinking healthier beverages. In addition to the HER consensus beverage recommendations, there are a number of guidelines and recommendations set forth by the Federal government on beverage consumption for young children including the 1) Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) 2020-2025, 2) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and 3) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). This brief identifies the areas of misalignment (between the consensus beverage recommendations and DGA, WIC, CACFP) and key opportunities for better alignment in U.S. policy guidance. To improve young children’s beverage consumption habits, guidance at the Federal level needs to be consistent and based on the most recent evidence available. Further, nutrition education efforts also need to be aligned to ensure parents and caregivers don’t receive conflicting information from the various providers who care for their children (pediatricians, pediatrics dentists, child care providers, registered dietitians, etc.).

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