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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2007 Aug;32(4):635-45.

Childhood obesity: food, nutrient, and eating-habit trends and influences.

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  • Eatwrite Communications, 410 Brook Place, Oakville, ON. lroblin@cogeco.ca


The need has never been greater to support healthy eating and physical activity in children and youth; the numbers of overweight and obese children have doubled and tripled, respectively, over the past 3 decades. Poor eating habits, including inadequate intake of vegetables, fruit, and milk, and eating too many high-calorie snacks, play a role in childhood obesity. Grain products provide the highest percentage (31%) of daily calories, followed by "other foods," which have limited nutritional value (22% of daily calories). Snacks account for 27% of total daily calories, which is more than the calories consumed at breakfast (18%) and lunch (24%), but not dinner (31%). For Canadians older than 4 years of age, more than 41% of daily snack calories come from other foods, such as chips, chocolate bars, soft drinks, fruit drinks, sugars, syrup, preserves, fats, and oils. Habits that protect against childhood obesity include eating more vegetables and fruit, eating meals with family, and being physically active. Children's food habits and choices are influenced by family, caregivers, friends, schools, marketing, and the media. Successful interventions for preventing childhood obesity combine family- and school-based programs, nutrition education, dietary change, physical activity, family participation, and counseling.

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