Kids 5 and younger should not have sugary, caffeinated drinks, medical groups say

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's estimated a third of the kids in the US are either overweight or obese.

Sweet drinks and juice boxes popular with kids are seen as a significant problem.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Heart Association, and other medical groups have issued new guidelines for kids five and under.

"They recommend no chocolate milk, no soda, no sweetened beverages, no transitional formulas," said Valley Children's Hospital pediatrician, Dr. Clint Pollack.

He says water, milk and formula are all that is recommended for children. Soda and sweet non-dairy drinks are frowned upon.

"These recommendations are a generalization," he said.

Four ounces of juice though is deemed OK for kids four to five.

Dr. Pollack was surprised by the stricter approach.

"I think this is sort of a watershed moment because chocolate milk and juice are things that most parents think of as healthy and in small amounts, they are perfectly healthy," he said.

Unnecessary calories are what families should avoid for the little ones to get them on a healthy path.

Dr. Pollack says kids can develop a sweet tooth at a very young age.

"Studies have shown by the time (kids are) three to four years old, the habits that they've developed and their taste for sweet things is pretty well ingrained," he said.

Health experts say chocolate milk, juice and sweets are fine in moderation, as a treat, but they become a problem when kids have too much of it, every day.
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