From Our 2010 Archives
Many Kids Skipping Meals, Snacking Instead
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THURSDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Many U.S. children are eating more snacks and skipping breakfast and dinner, meals that provide nutrients critical to youngsters' development, behavior and overall health, a new survey has found.
The American Dietetic Association Foundation poll of 1,193 pairs of parents and children (aged 8 to 17) found that breakfast is sometimes missed by 42% of white children and Hispanic children, and 59% of black children. Breakfast is rarely or never eaten by 12% of white and Hispanic children, and 18% of black children.
Previous studies have found that missing breakfast is associated with increased school absenteeism and tardiness, poor attention to tasks and lower test scores, Katie Brown, national education director for the ADA Foundation, noted in an ADA news release.
The survey also found that dinner is not eaten all the time by 22% of white children, 34% of black children and 38% of Hispanic children. Dinner is rarely or never eaten by 3% of white children and 5% of black and Hispanic children.
Snacks are often eaten to replace skipped meals, according to the survey. Snacking immediately after school was reported by 56.7% of white children, 57.8% of black children and 59.1% of Hispanic children. Regular snacking in the evening after dinner was reported by 24 to 26% of all the children, while about 23% of white kids, 30% of black kids and nearly 24% of Hispanic kids said they often or always ate snacks while watching television.
"The fact that children snack throughout the day provides an opportunity for parents and schools to offer nutrient-rich snacks to supplement any missed meals, and provide quality nutrition for children," Brown said in the news release.
Among the other survey findings:
The survey findings were released Nov. 9 at the ADA's Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Boston.
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: American Dietetic Association, news release, Nov. 9, 2010