To assess the association between age of juice introduction and child anthropometry after the American Academy of Pediatrics changed their guidelines in 2017 to recommend delaying juice introduction until at least 12 months of age (previously 6 months), citing concerns of weight gain.
Upstate KIDS is a prospective birth cohort with follow-up through 9 years. Juice introduction was assessed on parental questionnaires at 4-18 months and categorized as <6, 6-<12, and ≥12 months. Child height and weight were recorded at 2-3 and 7-9 years. Weight-, height-, and BMI-for-age and sex Z scores were calculated using the CDC reference. Overweight/obese and obese status were categorized as BMI-for-age Z score ≥85 and ≥95 percentiles. Controlling for sociodemographic characteristics and parental BMI, we assessed the associations of age of juice introduction with child anthropometry.
Prevalence of childhood obesity was 16.4% at 2-3 (n=1713) and 22.8% at 7-9 years (n=1283). Juice introduction at <6 versus ≥12 months was associated with higher weight-for-age Z score at 2-3 years (mean difference=0.21; 95% confidence interval 0.04-0.37). At 7-9 years, juice introduction at <6 versus ≥12 months was related to higher BMI-for-age (0.38; 0.12-0.64) and weight-for-age Z scores (0.27; 0.06-0.49). Risk of developing overweight/obesity and obesity was 1.54 (0.99-2.38) and 2.17 (1.11-4.23) times higher among children with juice introduced at <6 months. No associations were found with juice introduced at 6-<12 vs ≥12 months.
Risk of developing overweight/obesity or obesity is higher among children introduced to juice before 6 months of age compared with ≥12 months.

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