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Catherine Holecko

Kids are eating less

By February 22, 2013

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Obesity in the U.S. has many underlying causes, and one of them is our lack of portion control. Restaurant meals and packaged goods are bigger than ever, which is bad news for our health. But data published this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that kids and teens are actually eating fewer calories than they did 10 years ago.

  • Boys' average calorie intake dropped from an average of 2,258 in 2000 to 2,100 in 2010.
  • Girls' average calorie intake decreased from 1,831 in 2000 to 1,755 in 2010. (The recommended intake for kids is between 1,000 and 3,200 calories/day, depending on gender, age, and activity level. Calculate your child's calorie needs.)
  • Kids are eating slightly more protein than they used to, and slightly fewer carbohydrates.

At the same time, the rate of obesity among kids and teens is holding steady instead of increasing. This may mean that efforts to prevent and treat childhood obesity are beginning to show an effect. "To reverse the current prevalence of obesity, these numbers have to be a lot bigger," said Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, in the New York Times. "But they are trending in the right direction, and that's good news."

This data comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Each year, the survey collects data from a representative sample of the U.S. civilian population.

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