Foods Contributing to Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is more than double compared to thirty years age. Various factors contribute to childhood obesity with one of them being certain types of foods.
- Kids Yogurt
- Fruit Snacks
- Fast Food
- Sugary Cereal
- Sweet Drinks
- Potato Chips
- Vending Machines
- Sources and Additional
Childhood obesity has become an epidemic that is a serious health problem that increases morbidity and mortality. Around one-third of children adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese and more than one in six children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered obese.
Currently our environment promotes consumption of unhealthy foods that are influenced by variety factors. One factor is unhealthy advertising that targets children and adolescents. The advertising promotes foods high in sugar, salt, fat and low nutrients. Below are some foods that can contribute to a child’s weight.
According to the American Heart Association kids and teens should limit their sugar consumption to less than six teaspoons a day. Six teaspoons of sugar equals 100 calories or 25 grams. Eating foods like yogurt that is high in sugar contributes to obesity along with risk factors for heart disease and elevated blood pressure. Total fat between 25 and 35 percent of calories, Salt for kids 4-6 1.2 gm, 7-10 2gm and 11+2.4 gm.
Yogurt that is brightly colored, crunchy, sprinkles, and squeezable and even cartoon character, your kids may want them but these yogurts are loaded with artificial coloring, sugars, genetically modified dairy and corn starch.
The best yogurt is plain but you can fresh fruits to please your child’s taste buds.
Most of these gummy fruit snacks are filled with high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavoring. On average fruit snacks contain 60 grams of sugar and 66 percent of calories from total sugars. You can still buy fruit snacks that are healthy like Bare Fruit Chips, Wildly Nutritious from Dole or Organic Fruit Snacks.
Fast food is loaded with saturated fat, sugar and sodium. A 2014 study had found that fast food restaurants located within a mile from school affect obesity. Around 34 percent of children ages 2-19 consume fast food on a given day. Which roughly translates to one in three kids are chowing down on pizza, fries, burgers among others every day.
A study conducted last year found that pizza may be the biggest culprit when it comes to child obesity. The study revealed from 2003-2004 and 2009-2010 found overall energy intake decline by 25 percent among children who ate pizza. Children and adolescents pizza consumption was associated with a significantly higher total energy intake (84 cal and 220 cal respectively). Consuming pizza as a snack or from fast food restaurants had a greater adverse impact on total energy intake.
An analysis from the Environmental Working Group of 1,556 cereals on the US market had found 95 percent of all cold cereals are loaded with sugar on average of 40 percent more than adult cereals. Children’s cereals have more than 2 ½ per serving on average. Not a single children’s cereal is unsweetened. Some cereals contain as many as six different types of added sweeteners, including sugar mixed with corn syrup, honey, dextrose or high fructose corn syrup.
Children drinking sodas, Kool-Aid, sports drinks and juice has constantly been on the rise for the past decades and childhood obesity has also risen.
Juice makes younger children feel fuller faster but in older children they usually don’t feel full from drinking juice but the calories from the juice adds to their weight.
A 12-ounce glass of orange juice contains 180 calories, which is the same as eating three chocolate chip cookies.
Drinking just one 12-ounce can of soda every day for a year is equal to 55,000 calories, or 15 pounds a year.
A glass of Kool-Aid contains 120 calories
Soda and other sweetened drinks contain high fructose corn syrup and caffeine.
Over a one year period a child will consume and extra 142.000 calories from sweetened drinks.
Options include water, non-fat milk, and a occasional diet soda.
Duke National University Singapore looked at foods associated with childhood obesity. They found potato chips to be one of the most obesity promoting foods. Children who regularly eat potato chips tend to gain the most weight. Potato chips are high in energy density.
Vending machines can be found in most schools across the nation. These machines offer kids the choices of high calorie foods and sugary beverages. The nutrient deficient foods include candy bars, soda, chips, and pastry like desserts. These foods carry a relatively long shelf life and because of this are filled with ingredients that are not good for your health such as artificial sweeteners, synthetic Tran’s fats and artificial flavoring. Junk food offers very little nutritional value and contributes greatly to the cause of childhood obesity.
Sources and Additional
Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco
American Heart Association
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Academy of Pediatrics
Helping students eat well and cheaply
The Health Risks of Obesity in Children