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Kids Offered Healthier Snacks Eat Less

A new study conducted by the Food and Brand Laboratory at Cornell University suggests that substituting cheese or vegetables for potato chips, might help reduce the amount of calories children eat at snack time. The findings are of interest to a nation combating a recognized childhood obesity epidemic and looking for ways to help kids slim down. The study of over 180 children ages nine to twelve, put the kids in a room to watch TV and eat a snack. 45 of the children were given potato chips, 36 were offered cheese, 59 were given raw vegetables and 43 were given cheese and vegetables. There were no restrictions on the quantity of the snacks; the kids were allowed to eat until they felt full. After 45 minutes, the researchers measured the amount of calories eaten. Unsurprisingly, the children in the chip group consumed the most, averaging 620 calories, or approximately 40% of the daily amount of calories recommended for a moderately active eight-year-old boy. The children in the other groups ate an average of 200 calories of cheese, 60 calories of vegetables and 170 calories of the combination cheese-and-vegetables snack. Kids also reported feeling full after eating less of the cheese and vegetables than the potato chips. Experts disagree on the findings however, pointing out that children will eat more of a snack they prefer - like potato chips, than one they don't - like raw vegetables. They also acknowledge that it is not always feasible, especially in lower income families where obesity has hit hardest, to provide healthy alternatives to cheaper processed foods.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: Pediatrics, online December 17, 2012.