Cranberry juice can prevent urinary tract infection in children, a new study says. But, the commercial variety would probably increase your kid's weight due to the amount of sugar added. To get real benefits of cranberry juice, it has to be consumed in its original form.

According to researchers from University of British Columbia, Vancouver, a compound called proanthocyanidins (PACs), known for its antibacterial activity, is effective in the prevention of urinary tract infection in children.

Urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria, generally present around the anus or vagina, enter urinary tract and cause an infection. Escherichia coli (E. coli) is the cause for the vast majority of UTIs.

UTIs affect about 3 percent of children in the United States each year. Girls are at a higher risk of developing a urinary tract infection than boys; 8 percent versus 2 percent, respectively.

Some common symptoms of urinary tract infection are foul smelling urine, burning sensation while passing urine and fever. Other symptoms include cloudy or dark urine and pain in the abdomen.

The present study involved approximately 40 children who were randomly assigned to either drink cranberry juice with high concentration of PAC's or cranberry juice without any PAC for one year. All the children were diagnosed with urinary tract infection before the study.

Researchers found that children who drank cranberry juice that had PAC were at 65 percent lower risk of developing UTI than children who drank juice that didn't have any PAC.

"Pure cranberry juice often doesn't taste so good," said Dr. Hiep Nguyen of Boston Children's Hospital told Reuter's Health. Nguyen wasn't part of the present study. Other studies have also pointed out that drinking a lot of cranberry juice can result in weight gain due to the amount of sugar added during manufacture. Nguyen added that getting children to drink pure cranberry juice will be tricky.

UTI is very common and affects about 8 million people annually. About 40 to 50 percent women have a case of UTI at least once in their life time. A woman's risk of a UTI relapse is about 20 percent. Medical Daily had reported last month that cranberry juice has been found to be effective in lowering UTI incidence in people.

The study was published in the Journal of Urology.