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Why are there more eating opportunities for kids now than in the past?

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  • Rage_PhishRage_Phish Posts: 1,514Member Member Posts: 1,514Member Member
    generalities and oversimplifications...and of course classic anecdotal evidence!!! yay!!!
  • 100df100df Posts: 668Member Member Posts: 668Member Member


    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/u-s-children-generation-snack/?_r=1
    A sweeping study of 31,337 children and adolescents released on Tuesday tracked snacking and meal trends from 1977 through 2006 using data from four national surveys. On average, children reach for cookies, chips and other treats about three times a day, consuming nearly 600 daily calories from snacks. That’s an increase of 168 snack calories compared with what children ate in the late 1970s.

    Here's the study - http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/29/3/398.full
    Nationally representative surveys of food intake in U.S. children show large increases in snacking between the 1989–91 to 1994–98 and 1994–98 to 2003–06 periods. Childhood snacking trends are moving toward three snacks per day, and more than 27 percent of children’s daily calories are coming from snacks. The largest increases have been in salty snacks and candy. Desserts and sweetened beverages remain the major sources of calories from snacks.
    There has been little systematic examination of recent eating patterns and longer-term trends, including those for childhood snacking. The rise of childhood obesity coincides with a reported increase in daily snacking and a decline in the consumption of three principal meals. Population-based studies show increased food consumption related to the snacking habit.1,2 More frequent snacking has been positively associated with body weight in children.1 Other epidemiological and intervention studies in children and adolescents have linked a more even distribution of food consumed throughout the day with lower body mass index (BMI).1,3,4 Most cross-sectional studies, after adjusting for body weight, have found that obese children do not eat more than lean children.5

    Snacks are readily available to all children and adolescents in several environments,6 and energy-dense snacks have been linked with a decreased satiating (feeling of fullness) effect7,8 Greater intake of salty snacks and sweetened caloric beverages and increased portion sizes of snacks have been observed as potential contributors to daily food consumption.9,10 Consequently, these may play an important role in childhood obesity. This study is focused on more recent dynamics of snacking in all of its dimensions.

    In this study, current snacking patterns and key foods consumed during childhood were examined along with long-term trends in snacking behavior across four nationally representative surveys of food intake in U.S. children over the past three decades. Among our most important findings is an increase in the number of snacking events in the past decade. The largest increases in snacking events have been in salty snack and candy consumption; however, desserts and sweetened beverages remain the major sources of calories from snacks.
  • ashleyjongepierashleyjongepier Posts: 130Member Member Posts: 130Member Member
    If this were about adults the majority would say so long as you are within your calories it doesn't matter how many times you eat a day.

    So so long as the snacks are healthy (or in moderation if not) why does it matter how often kids are snacking? If you dont want your kids not to, don't let them.

    My daughter is two so I pack a banana or baby carrots if we are going to be out longer than she is used to around meal time (say we're out past lunch,) if we go to the park in the summer I might bring watermelon or pack a lunch.
    If she is hungry enough to eat carrots or a boiled egg then she needed it, she knows her body needs more than I do.

    As for the school, I have friends who sent letters into the teachers to let them know they didn't want their kids eating sugary things if provided.

    As for us we had a lot of snacks. I grew up obese however my sister did not. She snacked on one cookie to my five or fruit to my cookies and fruit. As an adult I might have a mid afternoon snack or a post workout snack if I feel I need it but I tend to like to have more calories at dinner.

    Snack or not, do you.
  • snikkinssnikkins Posts: 1,282Member Member Posts: 1,282Member Member
    Unless I'm reading them wrong, the top link says that kids don't snack more but take in more calories per snack and the bottom says it's both?
    edited April 2016
  • MommyMeggoMommyMeggo Posts: 1,222Member Member Posts: 1,222Member Member
    https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/downloads/calreqtips.pdf
    Calories Needed Each Day for Boys and Men
    Age Not Active Somewhat Active Very Active
    2–3 years 1,000–1,200 calories 1,000–1,400 calories 1,000–1,400 calories
    4–8 years 1,200–1,400 calories 1,400–1,600 calories 1,600–2,000 calories
    9–13 years 1,600–2,000 calories 1,800–2,200 calories 2,000–2,600 calories
    14–18 years 2,000–2,400 calories 2,400–2,800 calories 2,800–3,200 calories

    Calories Needed Each Day for Girls and Women
    Age Not Active Somewhat Active Very Active
    2–3 years 1,000 calories 1,000–1,200 calories 1,000–1,400 calories
    4–8 years 1,200–1,400 calories 1,400–1,600 calories 1,400–1,800 calories
    9–13 years 1,400–1,600 calories 1,600–2,000 calories 1,800–2,200 calories
    14–18 years 1,800 calories 2,000 calories 2,400 calories
  • MommyMeggoMommyMeggo Posts: 1,222Member Member Posts: 1,222Member Member
    Sorry-- lost the table format when C&P'd.
  • MommyMeggoMommyMeggo Posts: 1,222Member Member Posts: 1,222Member Member
    100df wrote: »

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/u-s-children-generation-snack/?_r=1
    A sweeping study of 31,337 children and adolescents released on Tuesday tracked snacking and meal trends from 1977 through 2006 using data from four national surveys. On average, children reach for cookies, chips and other treats about three times a day, consuming nearly 600 daily calories from snacks. That’s an increase of 168 snack calories compared with what children ate in the late 1970s.

    Here's the study - http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/29/3/398.full
    Nationally representative surveys of food intake in U.S. children show large increases in snacking between the 1989–91 to 1994–98 and 1994–98 to 2003–06 periods. Childhood snacking trends are moving toward three snacks per day, and more than 27 percent of children’s daily calories are coming from snacks. The largest increases have been in salty snacks and candy. Desserts and sweetened beverages remain the major sources of calories from snacks.
    There has been little systematic examination of recent eating patterns and longer-term trends, including those for childhood snacking. The rise of childhood obesity coincides with a reported increase in daily snacking and a decline in the consumption of three principal meals. Population-based studies show increased food consumption related to the snacking habit.1,2 More frequent snacking has been positively associated with body weight in children.1 Other epidemiological and intervention studies in children and adolescents have linked a more even distribution of food consumed throughout the day with lower body mass index (BMI).1,3,4 Most cross-sectional studies, after adjusting for body weight, have found that obese children do not eat more than lean children.5

    Snacks are readily available to all children and adolescents in several environments,6 and energy-dense snacks have been linked with a decreased satiating (feeling of fullness) effect7,8 Greater intake of salty snacks and sweetened caloric beverages and increased portion sizes of snacks have been observed as potential contributors to daily food consumption.9,10 Consequently, these may play an important role in childhood obesity. This study is focused on more recent dynamics of snacking in all of its dimensions.

    In this study, current snacking patterns and key foods consumed during childhood were examined along with long-term trends in snacking behavior across four nationally representative surveys of food intake in U.S. children over the past three decades. Among our most important findings is an increase in the number of snacking events in the past decade. The largest increases in snacking events have been in salty snack and candy consumption; however, desserts and sweetened beverages remain the major sources of calories from snacks.

    I find this interesting...primarily the last sentence.

    "More frequent snacking has been positively associated with body weight in children.1 Other epidemiological and intervention studies in children and adolescents have linked a more even distribution of food consumed throughout the day with lower body mass index (BMI).1,3,4 Most cross-sectional studies, after adjusting for body weight, have found that obese children do not eat more than lean children.5"
  • French_PeasantFrench_Peasant Posts: 1,631Member Member Posts: 1,631Member Member
    My biggest concern with my children's snacking is that the little savages don't properly observe the seven meals of a civilized person, whether hobbit or otherwise: first breakfast (or dewbits), second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon (also, nuncheon or nammet), afternoon tea, dinner, and supper. I offered my six year old son a raspberry scone with double devon cream and jam the other day and he refused to eat it, the vicious little feral.

    http://www.theoldfoodie.com/2010/03/only-seven-meals-day.html
  • PackerjohnPackerjohn Posts: 4,859Member Member Posts: 4,859Member Member
    Mommysarus wrote: »
    I don't know many people who can say their kids get the full recommended 5 servings of fruits and veggies in the 3 meals a day.

    Oh, that's disheartening. Though it's probably true of many parents too.

    About 10% of Americans get the recommended fruits and vegetables servings

    http://consumer.healthday.com/public-health-information-30/centers-for-disease-control-news-120/is-your-state-eating-enough-fruit-veggies-701213.html
  • PackerjohnPackerjohn Posts: 4,859Member Member Posts: 4,859Member Member
    Does it matter if a child eats meals or snacks?
    It seems meal times are cultural, not necessarily health-based. Some adults do very well with IF and some better with grazing.

    I think it's better to offer healthy food free range for whenever my daughter will eat it than to try to force her into some arbitrary standard of consumption. At the end of the day, it's the same food as she would have eaten in three separate meal times, but in 7 or 8 instead.

    So sugary junk and juice aside, for children, does frequency matter or is it individualized as with adults?

    Oh and to add, isn't telling a kid "You eat lunch at noon and if you don't, there is no food until 3" going to encourage them to eat even if not hungry so that they don't get hungry waiting for the next meal or snack time? Isn't that the opposite of healthful eating?

    The kids have to go to school. The kids can't be eating at all different times. They need to learn to eat at the assigned times.

  • blues4milesblues4miles Posts: 1,481Member Member Posts: 1,481Member Member
    100df wrote: »
    I wonder if all the extra opportunities lead children to being overweight adults because they are conditioned to always having something to eat. Do they even know what hungry feels like?

    I am early 30s and while some other folks have posted snacks were common when they were kids, they weren't for me (maybe depends on where you grew up, affluence, social norms). My parents were both overweight and anti-snack. I remember being hungry SO MUCH when I was a kid. Lunch was usually a sandwich, a fruit, a small dessert, and a small milk. And that never felt like enough. I was hungry before lunch, and the worst was coming home I was STARVING. My parents didn't want us snacking before dinner so it was just waiting until dinner was made. We had some type of snack food, but that was the dessert item in our lunches, so was only allowed to be eaten for lunch. I don't think the food was inadequate so I don't know why I remember being hungry so much.

    I was not overweight as a child, but became overweight towards the end of high school, and then more seriously towards the end of college. In a way, my parents' training worked. As an adult, I am not much of a snacker. But I am obese and suffer from some binge eating issues. I am sure there are a TON of factors that go into that, but I don't think not having snacks pushed on me was an effective deterrence to not becoming obese.
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    If this were about adults the majority would say so long as you are within your calories it doesn't matter how many times you eat a day.

    If you count or otherwise monitor how much you eat, no it wouldn't.

    Most people don't, though -- which is why most people in the US are overweight. I do believe that the change in our culture from a society where we mostly ate at planned and scheduled times (the specific times don't matter) to one in which we think food needs to be available at all times and graze at will/think snacking a lot is normal and necessary is one contributor to why there has been an overall increase in the number of calories people eat and the obesity rate.

    Small kids who don't eat enough in a smaller number of meals would be an exception, but I don't think the idea that we must eat every 2 hours and any perceived hunger is to be avoided at all costs and eating when you just feel like it (a feeling often brought about by the presence of appealing food) is helpful culturally.

    Are there other reasons (like greater inactivity now) that obesity has increased? Of course.
  • ChaleGirlChaleGirl Posts: 279Member Member Posts: 279Member Member
    Maybe it's something that's more common in America. I think there are more opportunities for everyone to snack now but when I was at school it was more things like Orange quarters after sports activities! Jugs of water or the water fountain. I'm UK based.
  • stealthqstealthq Posts: 4,307Member Member Posts: 4,307Member Member
    Does it matter if a child eats meals or snacks?
    It seems meal times are cultural, not necessarily health-based. Some adults do very well with IF and some better with grazing.

    I think it's better to offer healthy food free range for whenever my daughter will eat it than to try to force her into some arbitrary standard of consumption. At the end of the day, it's the same food as she would have eaten in three separate meal times, but in 7 or 8 instead.

    So sugary junk and juice aside, for children, does frequency matter or is it individualized as with adults?

    Oh and to add, isn't telling a kid "You eat lunch at noon and if you don't, there is no food until 3" going to encourage them to eat even if not hungry so that they don't get hungry waiting for the next meal or snack time? Isn't that the opposite of healthful eating?

    If they're not hungry enough to eat lunch, they shouldn't be hungry enough to need a snack if the next meal is in a reasonable amount of time. If a kid turns their nose up at meals frequently because they're not hungry from snacking, I figure it's time to limit or eliminate snacks. Or, make the snacks proper mini-meals so the kid is getting proper nutrition. The timing and frequency isn't so important other than for convenience.
  • PackerjohnPackerjohn Posts: 4,859Member Member Posts: 4,859Member Member
    stealthq wrote: »
    Does it matter if a child eats meals or snacks?
    It seems meal times are cultural, not necessarily health-based. Some adults do very well with IF and some better with grazing.

    I think it's better to offer healthy food free range for whenever my daughter will eat it than to try to force her into some arbitrary standard of consumption. At the end of the day, it's the same food as she would have eaten in three separate meal times, but in 7 or 8 instead.

    So sugary junk and juice aside, for children, does frequency matter or is it individualized as with adults?

    Oh and to add, isn't telling a kid "You eat lunch at noon and if you don't, there is no food until 3" going to encourage them to eat even if not hungry so that they don't get hungry waiting for the next meal or snack time? Isn't that the opposite of healthful eating?

    If they're not hungry enough to eat lunch, they shouldn't be hungry enough to need a snack if the next meal is in a reasonable amount of time. If a kid turns their nose up at meals frequently because they're not hungry from snacking, I figure it's time to limit or eliminate snacks. Or, make the snacks proper mini-meals so the kid is getting proper nutrition. The timing and frequency isn't so important other than for convenience.

    This. Could the idea that many people can't stand to be a little hungry is why 70% of the population is overweight/obese?
  • scolarisscolaris Posts: 2,150Member Member Posts: 2,150Member Member
    I agree. Too much snacking. Even when my girls were young (now 13 & 20) some mothers didn't leave home without it looking like they were portaging a segment of the Lewis & Clarke expedition.
    People also like to use use hunger as an excuse for bad manners in children in my opinion.
    But in fairness to children everywhere, there was also not so much constant car travel! Kids get dragged on long commutes to work, all day shopping safaris to regional strip malls, cover ungodly distances for team sports. How could they eat three square meals at home on these schedules?
    My upbringing seems so quaint now. We had a hot breakfast every morning. I walked to a neighborhood school. I could goof around until dinner, then bath, homework (very little), and bed for a good 10 hour stretch. And this was until I was driving and working at age 16 or 17. In the summer breakfast was required, then you could pack a lunch and be out on your bike all day. Same drill for dinner, bath, bed. We didn't need snacks. Maybe a piece of local fruit if it was in season. If you were lucky somebody in your family made a batch of cookies on the weekend. There were never seconds! After dinner in the summer a walk to thrifty drug for a 5-cent scoop double cone maybe if mom was feeling expansive. LOL
    And a note to mothers of young children everywhere: goldfish crackers are pure crap, plain and simple.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Posts: 42,519Member, Greeter Member Posts: 42,519Member, Greeter Member
    I always snacked as a kid and was rail thin until I intentionally tried to put on weight after high school. Working with the school system as a yard duty monitor now, I really don't see any difference from when I grew up to now, with the exception of how kids show a lot of disrespect to authority than when I was growing up.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • bratschesoupbratschesoup Posts: 19Member Member Posts: 19Member Member
    I do not think it's the frequency of the foods/snacks, but the quality/quantity. Additionally, I think weight has a lot to do with our own hunger awareness. As a child, I was often told to "make a happy plate" rather than "Oh, just eat until you're almost/mostly full. The difference? It became ingrained in my psyche to eat until the plate is clear, rather than until fullness. The consequence? Weight gain. For some reason, I cannot handle large meals. I never could. Instead, I eat 6 "mini meals" throughout the day, and some kids may be similar. The downside to that is if I miss my "snack time" or "mini meal" I can feel my attitude shift. Hanger is a real thing. If you skip a meal or a snack, and your blood sugar takes a dip, your brain perceives a life-threatening situation (and may even release adrenaline). Some of it does boil down to your biological makeup and upbringing. Obviously, some people are less prone to enraged outbursts than others. However, I am assuming the schools want to sidestep this problem. Also, there is an increase of diabetes in our society; therefore, it may also be an attempt to alleviate waning blood glucose levels by the end of the day. Anyway, these are all just hypotheses, and are in no way a reflective statement of the way our schools/recreation centers/ society run. It's just an opinion.

    There are a few articles about this available online.

    Also: I have noticed that there are more healthy options on the children's menu than the adult's menu. At least, this is how it is in my area. Has anyone else noticed this as well?
    I went to a restaurant the other day and they offered a fruit and veggie platter on the kids menu, but adults can't order it? So, if I'm a grown up, I must want a cheeseburger?
  • nvmomketonvmomketo Posts: 12,031Member Member Posts: 12,031Member Member
    I don't know if kids snack more now but the snack foods seem to have switched to convenience foods which are less nutritious and healthful IMO....Very generally speaking. Plus snacks seem to be more organized and "sanctioned" than they used to be.

    For example, I remember getting orange slices at half time of our soccer games as a kid; nothing at practices. I have been coaching youth soccer over the last 10 years and snacks are at every game and practice, and often consist of a juic box and yogurt tube, package of some gummy candy, or a candy/granola bar. Practices are right after dinner! This is a firmly middleclass area and the kids are all fed. They don't need the snacks already, and they definitely don't NEED candy.

    I was coaching basketball this winter and I was battling with a mother who insisted on giving candy to her son at half time, and was trying to give them to the rest of the team because they had been on court for 10-15 minutes. LOL These are 11-13 year old boys. It seemed goofy.

    All that being said, my kids snack. A LOT. They homeschool so they can eat when they are hungry. They snack but it is more like mini-meals in quality.

    My boys are more focused when they can snack. We go to classes once a week and I pack my 13 year old, who is very mildly autistic, what amounts to a produce bag to snack on. For a 5 hour day I'll often pack him a canteloupe, a couple of peppers, 4-6 mini cucumbers, an apple, a banana, a smokie and a bun, some peanuts, and a pepperoni or two. He is allowed to eat it in class, and he stays much more focused. My younger two will snack less.

    As a kid, I snacked. I had oatmeal for breakfast; a half pita sandwich with meat, cheese and lettuce, apple and a juice box; after school I had a banana or two oatmeal cookies (homemade); dinner; and then a bedtime snack of fruit or a cookie (if I didn't get one earlier). I was slim active kid. Beyond the juice, I wouldn't change much about my past diet.
  • SMKing75SMKing75 Posts: 84Member Member Posts: 84Member Member
    As a mother of 3 (8,7,4), I allow my kids to snack all the time. The rule is, one healthy snack and then one unhealthy snack. So first snack has to be a fruit, applesauce, nuts, organic popcorn, yogurt and then they can have a pre-packaged cheeze-it, goldfish, fruit snack, graham crackers, fruit roll, or something along those lines. They are allowed a dessert after dinner. All of my kids are slim and tall. I think a lot of the snacking allowed in schools is necessary because, according to my kids, they barely have time to eat a full lunch before the bell rings. So I am sure that many kids took lunch home and were hungry when they got there or were in a hurry in the morning and missed most of breakfast. At least now these kids aren't dying of hunger waiting for a bell to ring. My kids still bring lunch home though!

    I also have my kids in sports and they are all on the swim team which has practice 5 days a week. As far as treats after a game, I do disagree with that. Mostly because I hate having to be in charge of snacks for 11 other kids! Swimming doesn't require snacks so its the best!!!! In my opinion, you can bring your own kid a snack, healthy or not and give it to them after the game. Team snacks (for small kids) are about reward and comaraderie but unnecessary especially after an hour game or less.
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