Data on beverage consumption patterns in early life are limited. The aim of this study was to describe beverage consumption by sociodemographic characteristics, along with water intake and sources of water among U.S. children aged 0–24 months. Data from 2740 children in the 2005–2012 NHANES were analysed. Food intake was determined via one 24-h dietary recall. Beverages were categorised according to What We Eat In America groups. Poverty–Income ratio was used to define household income. During infancy (0–5.9 months and 6–11.9 months) infant formulas were the most commonly consumed beverage, 74.1% and 78.6% of children consuming, respectively. Comparatively fewer children, 41.6% and 24.3%, consumed breast milk. In toddlers (12–24 months), the most commonly consumed beverages were plain milk (83.6% of children consuming), water (68.6%), 100% fruit juice (51.8%) and sweetened beverages (31.2%). Non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American children were more likely to consume sweetened beverages, 100% fruit juice and infant formula than Non-Hispanic white children. Children from lower income households were more likely to consume sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juice and less likely to consume breast milk than children from higher income households. Total water intake increased with age and the contribution of water from food and beverage sources was ~20% and ~80% for all children, respectively. Disparities in beverage consumption by race/ethnicity and income level are apparent in early life.
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