A nutritional study conducted by the University of Cincinnati may provide clues and help us understand what influences a child’s snack choices.
According to the study…
Attitudes, relationships, intentions and personal behavior control are all factors that could affect a child’s decision in either reaching for an apple or grabbing a bag of chips, according to a new study out of the University of Cincinnati. The research by Paul Branscum, assistant professor of health and exercise science at the University of Oklahoma, and Manoj Sharma, a University of Cincinnati professor of health promotion and education, is published in the International Quarterly of Community Health Education.
Some of the key factors that were cited as affecting a child’s snacking habits were:
- skipping breakfast: when a child skips breakfast, they are more likely to snack (makes sense, if the last time they ate was the day before, they are going to start to get really hungry if they skip breakfast.
- choosing their own snacks: kids have more choice and control over choosing low nutrition foods than what is served to them at the dinner table
- availability and affordability of snacks: perhaps snacks that are lower in nutritional content are cheaper and more readily available than fresh fruits and vegetables
The healthy snacks for youth study was conducted with 167 fourth and fifth graders over a 24 hour period.
Here are the key findings about healthy snacks for youth and kids’ eating and snacking habits:
- snacking represented a large number of the children’s daily calories
- about 300 calories of snack foods were eaten during the day
- snack calories came from “junk food like chips, candy and cookies
- only 45 calories came from fruits and vegetables combined
The study suggested that in the battle against childhood obesity, snack foods should be of particular concern because they’re relatively cheap and easy for children to purchase.
The researchers say the results of the survey further support the need for more health education programs for elementary school children in fighting childhood obesity, in an effort to help children make more positive health choices such as selecting healthier snacks.