Study Says Kids Get 40 Percent of Calories from Junk Food: What Part of Childhood Obesity Don't We Understand?


Photo: Flickr
It's no wonder that kids are blowing up like balloons more every year. According to Kids Health, the percentage of overweight children in the United States is growing at an alarming rate--one out of three kids are now considered overweight or obese. And even worse, a new study released by the National Cancer Institute and reported on Civil Eats found that nearly 40 percent of calories consumed by children ages 2 to 18 were empty calories, the unhealthiest kind of calories, derived from junk food.Today, 40 percent of calories eaten by kids are derived from soda, sugar-sweetened beverages, cake, cookies, donuts, ice cream, pizza, and whole milk (rather than skim). This according to the National Cancer Institute. Although I'm not sure I would consider whole milk junk food, all the other choices are quite disappointing. During this developmental part of life, getting the majority of your nutrition from a vending machine does little to drive our youth toward a healthier future.

Junk Food Takes a Toll on Mother Earth
This dependence on junk food takes a serious toll on the planet. These foods are for the most part genetically modified and loaded with unnatural additives, pesticides, and herbicides. They come in colorful packaging meant to fool child consumers into begging their parents to buy corn syrup-laced cereal and soda. The more whole foods sourced from responsible local sources that we add to a child's caloric intake the better. Whole foods translate into less energy used in manufacturing and transportation and obviously, better nutrition. And still more important, kids define their eating habits when they're young.

In fact, according to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 80 percent of those who were overweight as children between the ages of 10 and 15 went on to become obese adults by age 25. And with obesity comes diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other weight-related illnesses.

More on Child Nutrition
Lessons on Obesity from Michelle Obama's Historic Summit
How does childhood obesity work?
School Lunches May Be Making Children Fatter