(HealthDay News) – Decreased milk consumption in children from fifth grade to eighth grade is not associated with changes in sweetened-beverage consumption.

Reena Oza-Frank, PhD, RD, from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues used data from 2004 and 2007 for 7,445 children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey-Kindergarten Cohort. Changes in sweetened-beverage, milk, and 100% juice consumption were examined when most children were in fifth and eighth grade.

The researchers found that children’s milk consumption decreased between fifth and eighth grade, with larger decreases seen among children who drank sweetened beverages daily. Changes in children’s milk consumption were not significantly related to changes in their consumption of sweetened beverages over time, after adjustment for demographic characteristics. However, there was a significant positive correlation between changes in milk consumption and changes in juice consumption.

“Observed decreases in average milk consumption from fifth to eighth grade were not related to changes in sweetened-beverage consumption. They were positively related to changes in fruit juice consumption, so not indicating displacement,” the authors write. “Caloric beverages generally tended to increase or decrease in tandem, so focus must be placed on their role in children’s entire diet and on balancing them with food and total beverage intake.”

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