Families with preschoolers buying fewer high calorie foods and beverages

May 28, 2014 by Stephanie Stephens
Families with preschoolers buying fewer high calorie foods and beverages

Families with young children are purchasing fewer high calorie drinks and processed foods, which may be a factor in declining rates of childhood obesity, finds a new report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"Somewhere between 2003 and 2010, the upward trend in childhood obesity started to stall, leveling off around 2007," said lead study author Christopher Ford, M.P.H. of the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data showed a significant decline in obesity among children aged 2 to 5 years, from 12.1 percent to 8.4 percent.

Ford and his co-authors examined food and beverage purchase data between 2000 and 2011 from nearly 43,000 U.S. households with a preschool-age child. They utilized the Nielsen Homescan Panel, which comprises a representative sample of U.S. households, while controlling for major price changes and household income, demographics, and composition.

Taking into account the recessions of 2003 and 2007, "during which there might have been less waste," notes Ford, the team identified the top 20 foods and beverages purchased per capita during that 11-year period. They assigned household purchases into nine groups for analysis: grain-based desserts, savory snacks, ready-to-eat cereals, sweet snacks and candy, processed meats, soft drinks, juice and juice drinks, plain milk and sweetened milk.

The researchers found the total calories from food and beverage purchases declined significantly. Declines were especially noted in milk, soft drink, juice and , and grain-based dessert purchases, all of which include higher calorie solid fats and added sugars. Per capita, calories purchased per day decreased by 182 during the period.

"We know from previous research that 70 to 80 percent of the preschooler diet comes from stores, with the rest coming from school cafeteria and child-care centers," Ford said.

Hispanic households saw the smallest decrease in total calories purchased, possibly due to less access to stores with bar-coded products and greater proportional spending on fruits and vegetables.

"Discussions about often focus on the negative impacts of fast food," said Meghan Slining, Ph.D., assistant professor of health services at Furman University. "And while these are indeed valid concerns, foods and beverages purchased from supermarkets and grocery stores represent a much greater share of young children's diets. This report suggests important improvements over the past decade in the food shopping behaviors of American families with ."

Explore further: Better eating habits, not bad economy, stabilized obesity rates

Related Stories

Better eating habits, not bad economy, stabilized obesity rates

January 23, 2014
All those people who've been telling us for years that we should eat more healthy foods and cut our calories – stop, take a moment, and celebrate.

Study: Taxing sugary beverages not a clear cut strategy to reduce obesity

July 30, 2013
Taxing sugary beverages may help reduce calories, but the health benefits may be offset as consumers substitute other unhealthy foods, according to a joint study by researchers at RTI International, Duke University, and the ...

New study says soft drink consumption not the major contributor to childhood obesity

June 14, 2012
Most children and youth who consume soft drinks and other sweetened beverages, such as fruit punch and lemonade, are not at any higher risk for obesity than their peers who drink healthy beverages, says a new study published ...

Families on food assistance buying fewer full-fat dairy products

November 7, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Efforts to reduce consumption of saturated fat among women and young children receiving food assistance appear to be paying off, according to a study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Fast food not the major cause of rising childhood obesity rates, study finds

January 15, 2014
For several years, many have been quick to attribute rising fast-food consumption as the major factor causing rapid increases in childhood obesity. Now researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill report ...

High cost of fruits, vegetables linked to higher body fat in young children

February 20, 2014
High prices for fresh fruits and vegetables are associated with higher Body Mass Index (BMI) in young children in low- and middle-income households, according to American University researchers in the journal Pediatrics.

Recommended for you

Safety of medical devices not often evaluated by sex, age, or race

July 25, 2017
Researchers at Yale and the University of California-San Francisco have found that few medical devices are analyzed to consider the influence of their users' sex, age, or race on safety and effectiveness.

Why you should consider more than looks when choosing a fitness tracker

July 25, 2017
A UNSW study of five popular physical activity monitors, including Fitbit and Jawbone models, has found their accuracy differs with the speed of activity, and where they are worn.

Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life

July 24, 2017
A new study has shown that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter.

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

App lets patients work alone or with others to prevent, monitor, and reverse chronic disease

July 24, 2017
Lack of patient adherence to treatment plans is a lingering, costly problem in the United States. But MIT Media Lab spinout Twine Health is proving that regular interventions from a patient's community of supporters can greatly ...

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.