News / USA

Study Says High Calorie Snacks Are to Blame for Obesity Epidemic

Excessive snacking is the main culprit for childhood obesity in the U.S.
Excessive snacking is the main culprit for childhood obesity in the U.S.
TEXT SIZE - +

Childhood obesity continues to spread in the U.S. and elsewhere. A new study finds excessive snacking is the main culprit. 

One in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. A new study shows that some obese children as young as three have early warning signs for heart disease. Other studies show that obese children are more likely to stay obese as adults.

The study also says American children eat an average of three snacks a day on top of three regular meals, and the snacks account for almost one third of their daily calories.  

Researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill studied the eating habits of American children over a 30-year period. They looked at data on 31,000 children between the ages of two and 18. They found that desserts and sweetened drinks remain the major source of calories from snacks. Not far behind are salty snacks and candy.

In a recent hearing on childhood obesity, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin told lawmakers that the Obama administration is working on making healthy meals more accessible and affordable. "There is a growing consensus that we as a nation need to recreate our communities and environments where healthy choices are easy choices and affordable choices," she said.

Data shows the rate of childhood obesity has tripled over the last 30 years. To reverse the trend, experts agree that vending machines in schools should offer healthy alternatives.

"We need to do a much better job of making sure that what's in those vending machines is very consistent. We think that the time has come for standards," said US Agricuture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The first lady has launched a program to motivate school children to eat healthy and to exercise.  

The administration has also announced $400 million in federal assistance to help bring more grocery stores - with fresh produce - to underserved communities.   

Many state education boards have cut recess and physical education. The federal government is encouraging schools to make more time so children can participate in physical activity.

"It's recommended that children get 150 minutes of exercise a week at elementary school and 225 minutes in secondary schools and yet they are not. For many schools PE (physical education) is an afterthought," Benjamin said.

The Centers for Disease Control is calling for taxes on sugary drinks and junk food, zoning restrictions on fast-food restaurants around schools and a ban on advertisements for junk food aimed at children.

The president's task force on childhood obesity plans to meet with Mr. Obama to deliver its recommendations on the issue.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid