Research shows that what children drink – from birth through age 5 – can have a big impact on their health, as beverages make a significant contribution to dietary intake during this period. However, with so many choices available in the marketplace, it can be confusing for parents and caregivers to know which drinks are healthy and which ones to avoid. Many authoritative bodies have issued guidance and recommendations for healthy beverage intake, but important gaps exist as these recommendations have not been comprehensive in the age groups covered or in the types of beverages discussed. Given the importance of beverage consumption in early childhood and the need for comprehensive and consistent evidence-based recommendations, Healthy Eating Research convened an expert panel representing 4 key national health and nutrition organizations to develop comprehensive recommendations for beverage consumption consistent with a healthy diet for children from birth to age 5. The 4 organizations represented on the expert panel are (in alphabetical order) the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Heart Association. The beverage recommendations put forward by this expert panel are based on the best available evidence and provide consistent messages that can be used by health care providers, public health practitioners, and parents and caregivers to improve the beverage intake patterns of infants and young children. This consensus statement presents the expert recommendations and an overview of the evidence for why certain beverages are or are not healthy for young children.

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