The Relationship between Fluid Milk, Water, and 100% Juice and Health Outcomes among Children and Adolescents

Elizabeth Gutierrez, Jessica Jarick Metcalfe, Melissa Pflugh Prescott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Beverages can provide improved nutrient intake and hydration, but also pose concerns related to overnutrition or contamination for children and adolescents who are in a time of critical growth. This narrative review aims to understand the impact of milk, 100% juice, and water consumption on health-related outcomes in youth. The literature review conducted used PubMed, Web of Science, and CABI global. Forty-five research articles met the quality criteria and were included. Health organization and governmental resources were also reviewed to identify current intake and consumption recommendations. All beverages in this review were associated with a variety of desirable and undesirable findings that spanned over 40 different health outcomes. Most studies that assessed milk lacked clear distinction between milk type (flavored vs. unflavored) or fat percentage, making it difficult to understand the impact of milk consumption. The relationship between milk intake and anthropometric-related outcomes were mixed within and across studies. Water was consistently associated with better hydration, while 100% juice and flavored milk intake was associated with more desirable dietary patterns or nutrients that children are currently not consuming adequate amounts of. The implications of these findings were discussed in the context of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), while considering the impact of issues such as contaminated water and lactose intolerance. This review suggests that water may be an optimal default beverage option in the NSLP to promote hydration and accommodate beverage preferences for those with lactose intolerance.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1892
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • children
  • milk
  • juice
  • water
  • nutrition
  • health


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