Sugary Drinks Are a Good ‘No’ Choice for Kids

The results of the study, published in the journal Maternal & Child Nutrition, also show that many parents are confused about different types of products, such as sweetened fruit drinks, 100% fruit juices, and milk. for toddlers and infant formula. Companies often cross-brand their less-than-healthy products with healthier products and place these look-alike drinks side by side on shelves at retail stores, contributing to confusion. this mix.

“Marketing tactics are often used to promote fruit and milk flavored drinks,” says Frances Fleming-Milici, Director of Marketing Initiatives at the Rudd Center and lead author of the study. for toddlers seems to deceive, conceal and misrepresent the real ingredients. “Parents were surprised and many were outraged when they learned about the ingredients in this drink and the health-related claims on the packaging that are not supported by scientific research.”

Health professionals do not recommend serving fruit- or milk-flavored drinks to toddlers. Sugary fruit drinks have very little juice, and many products marketed for young children also contain non-nutritive sweeteners.

Toddler milk is typically made by infant formula companies and marketed to children (12-36 months) as the next step after infant formula, but They mainly consist of powdered milk, added sugar (solids of corn syrup or other sweeteners) and vegetable oils. Despite expert recommendations, 27 percent of children 12 to 18 months and nearly 50 percent of children 2 to 4 years old consume sugary drinks on a given day.

The study used focus groups in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods in Hartford, CT, and Washington, DC to gauge parents’ understanding of common marketing tactics used. to advertise these drinks and whether they mislead parents into believing the drinks are healthy and/or necessary. for children. Participants shared their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding serving different drinks to their children and were asked to reflect on new information they learned. through focus groups.

Key findings include:

  • Few parents realize that many fruit-flavored drinks contain added sugar-free non-nutritive sweeteners.
  • Parents expressed shock that claims about toddler milk packs were not supported by scientific research and described them as “deliberately misleading”.
  • The participants discussed the higher price of 100% juice compared to sugary fruit drinks as to why parents might choose sweet fruit flavored drinks for their children.
  • Participants described their grocery shopping as “rushed”, giving them less time to differentiate between baby products at the time of purchase and leading them to rely on information before packaging to make purchasing decisions.
  • Parents have noticed that companies track their baby’s age after signing up for a baby formula voucher because they start receiving offers and samples of toddler formula as their baby hits it.” almost a year old”.

The findings support the need for policies to address potentially misleading marketing of these beverages and demonstrate opportunities to use over-the-counter marketing to reduce beverage supply. Comes in a fruity, sugary and toddler milky flavor for parents.

Current campaigns to reduce sugary drinks should inform consumers that fruit flavored sugary drinks and toddler milk are also sugary drinks, and that they should also help them identify added sugar and non-nutritive sweeteners.

“The industry can and should do more than that,” says Fleming-Milici. “Increasing transparency on product ingredients and eliminating misleading marketing of toddler milks and fruit-flavored drinks can go a long way in supporting the best efforts of parents in providing healthy beverages for their children.”

Source: Eurekalert

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