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Obesity Epidemic Among Kids Linked To “Empty Calories” From Junk Food Diet

October 1, 2010: 11:35 AM EST

Children’s and adolescents’ risks for many chronic diseases are increasing as more and more join the ranks of the obese. A new U.S. study that sheds light on where kids are getting their calories from explains why. Examining data from a national survey, researchers calculated calories from solid fats and added sugars in foods consumed by kids. The top sources for 2-18 year olds were grain desserts, pizza, and soda. Sugary sodas and fruit drinks provided 10 percent of calories consumed. Forty percent of calories were “empty calories” from solid fat and added sugars from six foods: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk. The researchers said their findings provide a context for dietary guidance that could specifically focus on limiting calories from these sources.

Jill Reedy, PhD, MPH, et al., "Dietary Sources of Energy, Solid Fats, and Added Sugars among Children and Adolescents in the U.S.", Journal of the Dietetic Association, October 01, 2010, © Elsevier, Inc.
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