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Open AccessArticle

The Association between Early Childhood and Later Childhood Sugar-Containing Beverage Intake: A Prospective Cohort Study

Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada
Department of Health Promotion, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Public Health Ontario, Toronto, ON M5G 1V2, Canada
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 3M7, Canada
Applied Health Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5G 1B1, Canada
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A8, Canada
Department of Pediatrics, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON M5C 2T2, Canada
Division of Child Health Evaluative Sciences (CHES), Sick Kids Research Institute, Toronto, ON M5G 0A4, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2338;
Received: 30 July 2019 / Revised: 22 September 2019 / Accepted: 27 September 2019 / Published: 1 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Early Life Nutrition and Future Health)
Sugar-containing beverages (SCBs) are a major source of sugar intake in children. Early life intake of SCBs may be a strong predictor of SCB intake later in life. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate if SCB intake (defined as 100% fruit juice, soda, and sweetened drinks) in early childhood (≤2.5 years of age) was associated with SCB intake in later childhood (5–9 years of age). A prospective cohort study was conducted using data from the TARGet Kids! primary care practice network (n = 999). Typical daily SCB intake was measured by parent-completed questionnaires. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using logistic regression. A total of 43% of children consumed ≥0.5 cups/day of SCBs at ≤2.5 years and this increased to 64% by 5–9 years. Daily SCB intake, compared to no daily intake, at ≤2.5 years was significantly associated with SCB intake at 5–9 years (adjusted OR: 4.03; 95% CI: 2.92–5.55) and this association was much stronger for soda/sweetened drinks (adjusted OR: 12.83; 95% CI: 4.98, 33.0) than 100% fruit juice (OR: 3.61; 95% CI: 2.63–4.95). Other early life risk factors for SCB intake at 5–9 years were presence of older siblings, low household income, and shorter breastfeeding duration. Daily intake of SCBs in early childhood was strongly associated with greater SCB intake in later childhood. Early life may be an important period to target for population prevention strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: sugars; fruit juices; life-course epidemiology; infant; child sugars; fruit juices; life-course epidemiology; infant; child
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Ziesmann, A.; Kiflen, R.; Rubeis, V.D.; Smith, B.T.; Maguire on behalf of the TARGet Kids collaboration, J.L.; Birken, C.S.; Anderson, L.N. The Association between Early Childhood and Later Childhood Sugar-Containing Beverage Intake: A Prospective Cohort Study. Nutrients 2019, 11, 2338.

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