Published: April 2013

ID #: 1067

Journal: Child Obes

Authors: Larson N, Story M

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Given the growing contributions of snacks to dietary intake and the need for effective strategies to reduce and prevent obesity, it is important to consider whether snacking behaviors are associated with high body mass index (BMI) in childhood. This review summarizes U.S. research that has examined trends in snacking behaviors and its contributions to dietary intake, as well as research describing the availability of snack foods and beverages in settings where youth spend their time. It also discusses the results of U.S. and international studies that have examined associations of snacking behaviors and weight status. Findings from the review suggest that while energy dense, nutrient-poor snacks are widely available in various settings where young people spend their time and the contribution of snacks to overall dietary intake of U.S. children and adolescents have increased significantly over the past few decades, regular snacking is not related to obesity, nor should children and adolescents be discouraged from consuming snacks.

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