LAS VEGAS — Children in the United States are estimated to consume 21 teaspoons of sugar each day, well above daily allowances recommended by the American Heart Association, highlighting the need for clinicians to step up and address added sugar intake in the pediatric population.

“The goal is to create awareness that added sugar is an issue,” said Michele Polfuss, PhD, RN, CPNP-AC/PC, of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, at the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners 2015 meeting.

“The problem with added sugar is multi-factorial, just like obesity, and clinicians need to be aware of how to educate families.”

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Currently, there is no specific FDA allowance for sugar, so the best insight that providers have to go by are recommendations made by the American Heart Association (AHA). Based on children’s age and caloric need, the AHA suggests a range of three to six teaspoons of added sugar per day.

Not all sugar is the enemy, Polfuss emphasized. “We know that naturally occurring sugar is in our fruits and vegetables and they’re good foods and it’s important we have those foods in our diets.”