Japanese toddler and preschool children, ages 1.5–5 years, have lower rates of obesity, ≥95 th percentile body mass index, compared with North American ones. We examined parental reported beverage consumption patterns in 3 Japanese based mother-child cohorts from three different regions of Japan compared with data from cross-sectional and longitudinal studies from North America. Specifically, we used data from the Hamamatsu Birth Cohort for Mothers and Children (HBC Study) in Hamamatsu (Shizuoka Prefecture), the Seiiku Boshi Birth Cohort from Setagaya, Tokyo and the TMM BirThree Cohort Study from Miyagi. We additionally compared cross-sectional data from preschoolers from 24 prefectures in Japan as previously reported from a national study. While Japanese children had lower but comparable rates to North American children for introduction of sugar-sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices, Japanese children consumed these beverages daily at a much lower level than North American children. Additionally, North American children may get more added sugars from soda and fruit juices as a relative percentage of total added sugar. By contrast, Japanese children consume more sweetened dairy drinks as a relative percentage of total added sugar. Sweetened dairy drinks may have the added benefits of including fats, calcium and probiotics which may be associated with lower risk for obesity compared with consumption of other types of sugar sweetened beverages.
- Fruit juice