Junk Foods – the Unhealthiest Kind of Calories

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The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that nearly 40% of calories consumed by children ages 2 to 18 are empty calories. These are foods that do not contribute much, if any, to its nutritional value.

Their study indicates that these calories come from just six foods:

  • Soda
  • Sugary fruit drinks
  • Grain desserts, such as cake, cookies, donuts
  • Dairy desserts such as ice cream
  • Pizza
  • Whole milk, which contains high fat content

With the national attention focused on providing children with healthier alternatives, there is now more awareness of the kinds of foods children eat. There are many yet who don’t know the nutritional value of foods or how much food constitutes a healthy diet. Nutrition education is a subject that should begin in preschool and move on through the entire education system.

There are a number of obstacles to changing children’s eating habits. Perhaps the most important is their lack of physical activity. Lives have become much too sedentary.Everybody needs to move more.

Parents play a role in this, too, as children tend to eat what their parents eat. The teen culture also contributes. Teens eat what other teens eat. And they would rather spend money on things they enjoy, such as clothes and the latest tech equipment, than on food.

Food companies are being asked to do their share in the promotion of healthy foods, as well. They have been highly criticized for their role in making less healthy foods look very attractive in their advertisements and commercials.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions says the obesity epidemic is a “winnable battle.” For parents and their children, it is a matter of making the right choice –  that of a healthy lifestyle.

To your health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Specialist in Family and Consumer Studies

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