Tag Archives: American Academy of Pediatrics

Pediatricians Say No Fruit Juice in Child’s First Year

The nation’s top pediatricians are advising parents to stop giving fruit juice to children in the first year of life, saying the drink is not as healthful as many parents think.

In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics had advised parents to avoid 100 percent fruit juice for babies younger than 6 months. On Monday, the group toughened its stance against juice, recommending that the drink be banned entirely from a baby’s diet during the first year. The concern is that juice offers no nutritional benefits early in life, and can take the place of what babies really need: breast milk or formula and their protein, fat and minerals like calcium, the group said.

This is the first time the pediatricians group has updated its guidelines on fruit juice since 2001.

I think this is a fantastic recommendation for infants, and it’s long overdue, said Dr. Elsie M. Taveras, chief of the division of general pediatrics at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston, who was not involved in the new report. Parents feel their infants need fruit juices, but that’s a misconception.

The new recommendations may surprise parents who thought 100 percent fruit juice was healthy for babies, or nutritionally equivalent to fruit itself.

Whole fruit is “less of a pure sugar intake,” Dr. Abrams said.  “We want kids to learn how to eat fresh foods. If you assume fruit juice is equal to fruit, then you’re not getting that message.”

Dr. Man Wai Ng, the dentist in chief at Boston Children’s Hospital, applauded the ban on juice for infants and took a hard-line stance for preschoolers and older children.  One hundred percent fruit juice should be offered only on special occasions, especially for kids who are at high-risk for tooth decay, she said.

To read the full story, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

Schools Are Slow to Learn That Sleep Deprivation Hits Teenagers Hardest

As a pediatrician, I find that there are few topics that parents want to discuss more than sleep. Parents worry about their own sleep deprivation when babies arrive. Later, they worry about their children’s. I almost never encounter patients who are convinced that they’re getting the recommended amount of sleep.

It’s harder than you might think to determine how much sleep an adult actually requires. Modern technology has significantly altered how and when we might naturally sleep. Electricity allows us to be productive long after the sun has gone down. Coffee and other stimulants allow us to wake up more quickly. Measuring “natural” levels of sleep would require us to return to a simpler time.

As part of a German science television show, five men and women volunteered to return to Stone Age conditions for eight weeks. They had no smartphones or Internet, no electricity or running water, no alarm clocks — or any clocks for that matter. Enterprising scientists took advantage of this to make some measurements.

Before the study, they went to sleep (median) about 20 minutes before midnight. Without interference from modern amenities, their bedtimes moved up about two hours. Before the experiment, they woke up (median) about 7 a.m. Under Stone Age conditions, they woke up about a half-hour earlier.

Counting the periods of awake time between going to sleep and waking up in the morning, they had been spending less than six hours asleep each night before the experiment, and without outside interference they slept about seven and a quarter hours a night. This might be the closest we’ll get to figuring out what a modern human body naturally requires.

To read the full story, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary