- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Children under 2 will not be allowed juice at New York City-licensed day cares and all other children will be limited to 4 ounces of juice a day, under new rules adopted by the city’s Board of Health.

The rules, intended to combat childhood obesity, also reduce children’s “sedentary time” to less than 30 minutes a day, down from 60 minutes.

“Obese children are more likely than normal weight children to have risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other disorders and conditions,” the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene noted in the resolution adopted by the board March 10.

The department said 100 percent fruit juice can be healthy in moderation but “water and low-fat milk are the healthiest beverages for children over 2 years of age.”

The rules on sedentary time do not include naps, reading time or activities like puzzles and crafts.

The health department said limiting time spent on sedentary activities is important, “as sedentary activities may take the place of time spent being physically active or otherwise actively engaged.”

“There is solid evidence that dietary and lifestyle habits develop at a very early age, and can have lasting effects on an individual’s health,” city Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said. “We feel confident that the new amendments will help children across New York City get a healthy start in life.”

The changes apply to about 2,300 day care centers licensed by the city with a capacity to serve nearly 135,000 children.

Home-based day cares are regulated separately by the state.

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