A new study in the US has confirmed the generally received view among many medical experts that children and adolescents are drinking higher levels of fruit-flavoured beverages and carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) than 100% fruit juices.

Researchers from the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences surveyed beverage consumption among more than 10,000 children. They found that, while most are within guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatrics for juice consumption, their consumption of fruit-flavoured drinks and CSDs exceeds their juice intake from as early as five years of age.

"Our research found that at around age seven, children's consumption of 100% real juice flat-lines, while intake of fruit-flavoured beverages increases," said the research group leader, Gail Rampersaud. "By the time children turn 13 years old, they are drinking nearly four times more carbonated soft drinks than 100% juice."

The research was published in the January 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.