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Revista Paulista de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0103-0582

Rev. paul. pediatr. vol.33 no.1 São Paulo May 2015


Press Release

Introduction of soft drinks and industrialized beverages in the diet of infants attending public day care centers

Giovana Longo-Silva

Researchers from Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), located in São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil, have recently published a study in the March 2015 issue of Revista Paulista de Pediatria that analyzed the introduction of soft drinks and industrialized juices in the diet of infants from day care centers.

In this study, the authors emphasized that healthy eating patterns established in childhood not only bring immediate health benefits but also have an influence on future practices and preferences, in addition to being associated with health protection in adulthood. Therefore, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended as a public health measure during the first six months of life, followed by the introduction of complementary foods and the maintenance of breastfeeding up to two years of age or more. Furthermore, industrialized foods should no be given to children in their first years of life. With regard to drinks, specifically artificial beverages (e.g., soft drinks and industrialized juices), the authors point out that, in addition to the immediate harm resulting from the consumption of these beverages, such as impaired intake of breast milk and other healthy foods and inadequate nutritional intake of micronutrients, the maintenance of these beverages in the usual diet may have a medium- and long-term impact on the rates of overweight, obesity, and associated chronic diseases. In this sense, the objective of the study was to identify at what age soft drinks and industrialized juices are introduced in the diet of infants enrolled in public day care centers and compare the nutritional composition of these beverages with that of natural fruit juices.

An observational study was conducted in seven public day care centers in the neighborhood of Santo Amaro, city of São Paulo, Brazil, with a total of 636 children of both genders aged from 4 to 38 months. The first observation was performed in the second semester of 2007, and the second in the second semester of 2010.

"Since the consumption of artificial beverages has been currently increasing everywhere, I believe that the results of the study are relevant for the society. Our research revealed that mothers introduce industrialized juices and soft drinks very early in children's diet. These beverages are detrimental to health and should not be offered in the first years of life. However, they are consumed before the first year of life by more than a half of the children studied, and nearly 10% of the children consumed these beverages before six months of age," warns Giovana Longo-Silva, one of the authors of the study. According to her, these beverages have a 9 to 13-fold higher salt content and 15-fold lower vitamin C content compared with the composition of natural orange juice.

"The research is not innovative, but reveals interesting data not only to the scientific community but also to health care professionals, educators, and parents, in the sense of making them aware of the current dietary intake and even helping in the formulation of public health interventions and actions to fight against this new eating pattern that contributes to the increasingly earlier occurrence of overweight, obesity, and chronic diseases," highlighted Giovana. "It should also be mentioned that the children participating in the study are covered by the Brazilian National School Meal Program in the day care centers, which establishes several rules for healthy habits. However, there is a need to communicate with parents with the purpose of instructing them to maintain and expand the healthy diet in the household environment," finishes the author.

Correspondence: Giovana Longo-Silva School of Nutrition, Universidade Federal de Alagoas (UFAL), Maceió, AL, Brazil E-mail:

Creative Commons License This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.