Childhood Obesity Rates Driven by Snacking

Childhood obesity rates have increased due to constant snacking by kids, according to a new study. In fact, snacking accounts for more than a quarter of the calories children consume.

Today’s kids are a generation of snackers. But, the types of foods they’re choosing is driving childhood obesity rates sky high, according to a new study.

Snacking on junk food accounts for more than 27 percent of the daily calories children take in, an increase of 168 calories per day between 1977 and 2006, according to a new report in the journal Health Affairs.

The findings showed that half of children in America snack about four times a day, while some seem to be eating constantly, as much as 10 times a day, according to Dr. Barry Popkin, lead author of the study at the University of North Carolina.

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The study found that kids are eating all the wrong things, bypassing milk, fruit and veggies and opting for the high calorie, sugary foods.

Popkin says that children still eat three meals a day, but “they’re loading up on high-calorie junk food that contains little or no nutritional value during these snacks.” These eating habits not only affect the children now, but could have long lasting effects as they mature, leading to dysfunctional eating habits, unhealthy weight gain and obesity.

So, what can be done to break this cycle of obsessive snacking? Researchers advise parents to limit snack time to once a day, and suggest they replace unhealthy snacks with apple slices, carrots, and other healthy fruits and vegetables, in an effort to combat the childhood obesity epidemic.

One Response

  1. Tafton

    In order to overcome snacking mid-morning kids should be given a high protein, low sugar breakfast. Protein takes longer to digest so they will feel full for longer.
    Food with a high glycaemic load should be avoided as this will digest too quickly and encourage that mid-morning muffin.
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    Reply

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