Continuous Snack Attacks

Apparently kids love snacks, now more than ever. According to a large study that looked at snack habits over three decades, children are now eating almost three snacks per day as compared with 30 years ago, when they ate an average of about one a day. And unfortunately, the snacks aren’t broccoli and apples.

The study found that snacks made up over a quarter of children’s daily calories — over 27%. The largest increases came from salty snacks and candy. Desserts and sweetened beverages were the major sources of calories from snacks.

The study was published in the March issue of Health Affairs; you can read the abstract here. Study researchers looked at national surveys of food intake in about 31,000 U.S. children, from 1977 to 2006.

One of the big findings came from preschoolers, who showed the largest increase in snacking. Children aged 2 to 6 consumed an extra 181 calories per day during snack time compared to two decades earlier.

Given the increase in US obesity rates and the health hazards excess weight brings — including increasing the risk of cancer — this study suggests unhealthy snacks may be one culprit in weight gain.

Need snack help for you or your kids? You can get ideas from Homemade for Health: Snacks.

Have healthy snack ideas of your own? Share.


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