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Filling Out the Food Source Story: One Third of Kids Intake is “Empty”

Catherine is a senior communications professional helping social change organizations tell their story in powerful ways. She has expertise in public health, environmental stewardship, philanthropy and education. Follow her on Twitter @CatBrozena

We know already that somewhere between 33 and 50 percent of kids’ calories come while they are at school. A recent study looked in to the sources for empty calories in the diets of children, and found that 33 percent of kids’ food intake from fast food restaurants, school, and grocery stores are “empty.”

The study, published in, the November 6 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics demonstrated that in 3,077 school-age children ages 2-18, the proportion of sugar and solid fat exceeds recommendations from the USDA. The sources of the food were analyzed for the sources of these “empty calorie” foods, and found that the food came in almost equally in proportion from schools, grocery stores and fast food restaurant.

These foods included high-fat content milk, grain-based desserts, sugar-sweetened beverages, dairy desserts, french fries and pizza.

The authors conclude that “The findings support the need for continued efforts to reduce empty calorie intake among children, not just at fast food restaurants . . . but at schools.”

Read the abstract.


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