Do your kids eat a lot of snacks?
Are they healthy snacks?
A new study published in the International Quarterly of Community Health Education finds that U.S. Children consume about a quarter of their daily calories from snacks.
Children in the study reported consuming an average of 302 calories per day from calorically dense, nutrient poor snacks such as cookies, potato chips and candy. At the same time, children consumed only 45 calories per day from fruit and vegetable snacks. This is far too much unhealthy snacking!
We have discussed the need to snack throughout the day as a healthy way to keep your energy up, but your snacks need to be healthy. It is likely that the high amount of snacking on high calorie, low nutrient foods is one reason that childhood obesity rates are increasing significantly.
One interesting finding of the study is related to children’s perceptions of various snack foods. Whether children perceived snack choices to be positive or negative, whether they felt that others preferred that they did or did not choose certain snacks, and whether they felt they had control over their snack choices all influenced their choices.
One of the study conclusions was that more health education programs were needed so that elementary-age children could make better snack choices. Unfortunately, these programs are among the first to be cut by school districts and state officials when budgets are tight. In our view, this is really an approach that’s “penny wise and pound foolish,” since the costs of not educating kids about healthy eating are far higher later.
Parents play an important role as well. Even though this was not addressed in the study findings, we believe that healthy eating starts at home and that parents much be good role models. By having good role models and learning healthy eating habits at home, children can then get the most out of health education programs in school.
Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
Do You Wish Your Kid’s Ate Better? Check out our FREE eBook at www.HealthFamilyFuture.com. Many of the strategies in this book can be used by both children and adults.
You might also want to read: Childhood Obesity: A Symptom of Deeper Issues, Healthy Kids: Spend $$ Now to Save $$$$$ Later, Childhood Obesity: Portion Size Matters