A report published Sept. 18 announces new beverage guidelines for youth. Water and milk are encouraged… while plant-based beverages are not.
Four of America’s biggest health organizations developed the new guidelines, which recommend cutting down on sugary sodas and juices, as well as favoring breast milk and cow’s milk instead of plant-based beverages.
Dr. Nathalie Muth, a representative of American Academy of Pediatrics to develop the report, was quoted by WebMD from a press release accompanying the guidelines’ release.
“As a pediatrician, I know what a child drinks can be almost as important of what they eat,” Muth said. “Children learn what flavors they prefer at a very early age – as young as 9 months.”
WebMD says the guidelines recommend whole milk for one-year-old children, moving towards skim and 1% milk for children ages two to five years old. Water can be introduced to infants ages six to 12 months to familiarize them to the taste. In general, juice should be avoided, and when it is provided after one years of age, it should be 100% juice and given in only small amounts due to sugar content.
Megan Lott, who also contributed to the guidelines and is director of Healthy Eating Research, cautioned against plant-based beverages in an article published by CNN.
“There’s a misconception that they are equal somehow to cow or dairy milk, but that’s just not the case,” Lott said.
The guidelines garnered attention ranging from Good Morning America to leading health organizations.
Industry leaders such as the New Mexico Milkmaid, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, and also took to social media.
However, the conversation is largely quiet amongst agricultural social media groups. Use the hashtag #HealthyDrinksHealthyKids to bring agriculture to the important conversation of child nutrition, and share your dairy story.