Health Discoveries in General Health News

Snacks contribute 27 percent of calories eaten daily by American children

April 30, 2010
Snack eaten apart from regular meals account for 27 percent of the calories that American children consume and may be a major contributor to childhood obesity, researchers from the University of North Carolina report.

Their findings, published recently in the journal Health Affairs, also show that children in the U.S. eat an average of three snacks a day, as well as three regular meals. Researchers Carmen Piernas and Barry Popkin reviewed data on more than 31,000 children ages 2 to 18 from federal surveys of children's eating habits.

"The largest increases have been in salty snacks and candy. Desserts and sweetened beverages remain the major sources of calories from snacks," according to the study. "Children increased their caloric intake by 113 calories per day from 1977 to 2006. This raises the question of whether the physiological basis for eating is becoming deregulated, as our children are moving toward constant eating."

According to the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, obesity contributes to about 300,000 deaths each year and is the second most preventable cause of death behind smoking. An obesity-related study under way through the Institute, which is part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, is focusing on the long-term results of weight-loss surgery.ADNFCR-2730-ID-19753625-ADNFCR
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