Food for Thought: More than a Quarter of Kids’ Calories Consumed from Snacks
By Yvonne Klemets Wright
A recent study revealed Tuesday notes that American children eat an average of three snacks a day on top of three regular meals, fueling childhood obesity rates that have risen to double digits.
Childhood snacking trends are moving toward three snacks per day, and more than 27 percent of children’s daily calories are coming from snacks, reported researchers in the journal Health Affairs. The data was based on 31,337 children aged 2 to 18 from four different federal surveys on food and eating.
The largest increases have been in salty snacks and candy. Desserts and sweetened beverages remain the major sources of calories from snacks, they wrote. “Children increased their caloric intake by 113 calories per day from 1977 to 2006.”
A second study found that 15 percent of children are overweight.
The studies fall on the heels of the President and first lady’s initiative to fight obesity in childhood. “Our kids didn’t do this to themselves,” said Michelle Obama. “From fast food, to vending machines packed with chips and candy, to a la carte lines, we tempt our kids with all kinds of unhealthy choices every day.”
Other studies have shown that obese children are more likely to stay obese as adults, and they develop chronic conditions at younger ages, burdening the healthcare system, and do not excel in school.
The administration has launched an initiative to tackle the issue by improving nutritional standards, getting food companies to voluntarily improve nutrition standards, help kids exercise more and educating parents.
So, are your kids “constant eaters”? If so, what can parents do to help fight obesity among our children?