To examine trends in beverage consumption and evaluate the impact of beverage choices on the nutrient intakes of females ages 12 to 19 years.
Dietary intake data from the USDA's Nationwide Food Consumption Surveys, including the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII), were assessed for trends in beverage consumption. The CSFII 1994-1996 data was used to examine the diets of young females grouped based on their milk and soda consumption status. Mean energy, nutrient, and beverage intakes were compared.
Females with complete dietary intake information on Day 1 of the survey were included in the study. There were 732 females ages 12 to 19 years in the CSFII 1994-1996. Statistical Analysis Percentages of females consuming specific beverages were estimated. Pairwise mean comparisons were made between groups based on milk and soda consumption status.
Milk intakes decreased by 36% whereas that of sodas and fruit drinks almost doubled from the late 1970s to the mid 1990s. The CSFII 1994-1996 data showed that between ages 12 and 19 years, intakes of fruit juices, soda, tea, fruit drinks, and alcoholic beverages either increased or remained relatively steady, while milk intakes decreased with an increase in age. At age 12 years, 78% drank milk and had the lowest soda intake (276g), while at age 19-years, only 36% drank milk and drank a high amount of soda (423g). Those who did not drink milk had inadequate intakes of vitamin A, folate, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
A rapid decrease in milk intake during the early adolescent years indicates a need for interventions at this age. Dietitians should identify barriers to drinking milk and recommend strategies for including appropriate food sources to increase calcium intakes during growing years. Nutrition educators should provide parents of adolescent children with ideas for ensuring the adequacy of their children's calcium intakes. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002; 102: 1234-1239.