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.
A Review of Snacking Patterns Among Children and Adolescents: What are the Implications of Snacking for Weight Status?
The healthfulness of foods and beverages found in retail food stores differs widely across the United States, both by location of the store as well as by store type. Some communities have limited access to stores that carry healthful staple foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grain-rich foods, and … More
The marketing of unhealthy foods to children and youth is a major public health concern. Children in the United States grow up surrounded by food and beverage marketing, which primarily promotes products with excessive amounts of added sugar, salt, and fat, and inadequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. … More
Conducting a Large-Scale Surveillance of Public School Environments to Advance Wellness-Related Practices, With a Focus on Rural Schools
Rural disparities in health behaviors and weight status jeopardize the well-being of millions of Americans. Compared to urban children, rural children have higher rates of obesity and consume more calories, less fruit, and fewer vegetables. A health-promoting school environment can modify risk behaviors, and periodic assessment of school environments provides … More