1. Lipman, Terri H.

Article Content

Hoerr, S. L., Lee, S. Y., Schiffman, R. F., Horodynski, M. O., & McKelvey, L. (2006). Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 21, 403-411.

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There is an epidemic of obesity in children in the United States. One cause of this public health problem is the consumption of sugary beverages. Is this practice more common in low-income families? Is this only a problem in adolescence, or should we also be concerned about very young children? Does the type of beverage that mothers drink correlate with those of their children? The purpose of this study was to answer these questions.


Interviews were obtained from 93 mother-toddler dyads living at, or below, the federal poverty level. Information was obtained via a 24-hour dietary recall of the mother and child when the child was 24 months and 36 months. The authors reported that although the children's milk intake was adequate, juice and sweetened beverage intake was excessive. Children drank more than 60 types of sweetened beverages. Mothers who consumed more than 12 oz of soft drinks per day were nearly four times more likely to have daughters with poor diet quality.


Dietary interventions to prevent obesity and unhealthy habits must begin with very young children. This study underscores the need for family intervention related to dietary changes for children. Pediatric nurses must obtain information related to family eating and drinking patterns and reinforce the importance of modeling healthy intake. Considering the ages of the children in this study, this is not only an issue of behavior modeling. Low-income mothers with multiple stressors may have difficulty attending to their own healthy diet and the healthy diet of their children. Nurses also have the opportunity to educate families regarding the cost of recommended beverages. Water is a cheap and healthy alternative beverage for children.


Terri H. Lipman