A15. Public attitudes towards the healthiness of fruit juices

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Background Fruit juice is a major part of children’s diets and accounts for a large proportion of their fruit and vegetable servings. People may confuse fruit juice with fruit drinks. This can cause problems as people could possibly substituting a portion of fruit for a drink, which contains little or no fruit. Studies have shown that excessive consumption of fruit juice can lead to health problems in children, including short stature, obesity, nonorganic failure to thrive and carbohydrate malabsorption. An increase in dental erosion has also been noted which appears to correlate with an increase in fruit juice and carbonated beverage consumption.

Aims The aim of this study was to find out what the general public’s attitudes are towards the healthiness of fruit juice.

Methods A mini focus group and a questionnaire were the methods used for data collection. The subjects were parents of children aged 12 or under in a local primary school.

Results Overall, the study group had a poor knowledge of the difference between fruit juice and drinks, and knowledge of sugar content was poor. The group had a good knowledge of fruit content. Fruit juice was regarded as being a health drink. They were unsure if excessive consumption could damage children’s health or not. Their main concern was regarding their children’s teeth. The factor identified as being most influential when choosing a drink was flavour, followed closely by healthiness. Nutritional knowledge was generally poor. The average daily intake of juice was 650 mL (22.8 floz), considerably more than the value recommended by several experts.

Conclusion There is a need for nutritional education regarding the consumption of fruit juice. The public should be made more aware of the potential problems associated with excessive fruit juice consumption without discouraging fruit juice intake altogether, as it is an important source of fruit in the diets of young children.

Document Type: Abstract

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-277x.2000.00001-16.x

Affiliations: School of Food and Consumer Studies, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

Publication date: October 1, 2000

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