Super-processed foods now account for two-thirds of the calories in children’s and teens’ diets

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Children’s and adolescents’ calories consumed from ultra-processed foods jumped from 61% to 67% of total calorie intake between 1999 and 2018, according to a new study by researchers at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science Policy. rice field. Published August 10, 2021 JAMAThis study analyzed dietary intake from 33,795 children and adolescents nationwide.

“With some whole wheat bread Dairy products It is super-processed and is healthier than other super-processed foods. Processing keeps food fresh for a longer period of time, Fortification Fang Fang Zhang, Senior Corresponding Author, Nutrition Epidemiologist at Friedman School, said: , And there are concerns about increased consumption by children and teenagers. “

The biggest surge in calories came from ready-to-eat or ready-to-heat dishes such as takeaways, frozen pizzas, and burgers. It is 2.2% to 11.2% of calories. The second-largest spike in calories was due to packaged sweet snacks and desserts, whose consumption increased from 10.6% to 12.9%.

Consumption of super-processed foods increased significantly between non-Hispanic blacks (10.3%) and Mexican-Americans (7.6%) than non-Hispanic whites (5.2%). Trends of other races /Ethnic group It was not evaluated due to lack of sufficient data to allow nationally representative estimates throughout the survey cycle.

There was no statistically significant difference in the overall findings of parental education and family income. “The lack of disparity based on parental education and family income shows that super-processed foods are pervasive in children’s diets,” Zhang said. “This finding confirms the need for researchers to more closely track food consumption trends, taking into account the consumption of ultra-processed foods.”

During the study period, calories from healthier raw or minimal processed foods were often reduced from 28.8% to 23.5%. The percentage of remaining calories is moderately processed foods such as cheese and canned fruits and vegetables, and sugar, honey, Maple syrup, And butter.

There was good news. The calories in sugared beverages decreased from 10.8% to 5.3% of the total calories and decreased by 51%.

“This finding demonstrates the benefits of collaborative campaigns over the past few years to reduce the overall consumption of sweet drinks,” said Zhang. “For other unhealthy super-processed foods such as cakes, cookies, donuts and brownies, we need to mobilize the same energy and level of commitment.”

“In an additional analysis, we used data from the 2017-2018 period to compare the composition of super-processed and non-super-processed foods. Super-processed foods have significant calories from carbohydrates and added sugars. It was found to be high and high in sodium levels, as well as low fiber and low calorie content from protein. ” Lou Wan, Postdoc of Friedman School.

“Food processing is an aspect that is often overlooked in nutritional research. Super-processing of some foods may be associated with health risks, regardless of the poor nutritional profile of super-processed foods in general. We need to consider that there is, ”concluded Mr. Zhang.

Super processed food

Super-processed foods are high in sugar, sodium and carbohydrates, low in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, ready to eat or ready to heat. They usually contain added sugar, hydrogenated oils, and seasonings. Examples include packaged sweet snacks and desserts, sweet breakfast cereals, french fries, fast food burgers, and lunch meats such as bologna and salami. When overdose, these foods are associated with other serious medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers.


This new study is part of a series led by researchers at Friedman School, investigating dietary quality patterns and trends in adults and children in the United States.This study characterized a tendency for supermachining Food consumption Using data from 10 consecutive cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), between 1999-2018 US children aged 2 to 19 years, between overall and population subgroups.In addition, we evaluated the major super processing food Nutrient profiles associated with subgroups consumed by children in the United States during the latest NHANES cycle (2017-2018). The average age of the participants was 10.7 years, which was almost evenly divided between boys and girls. It relied on a 24-hour meal recall interview conducted by trained personnel. Older children and teens reported directly on the food they ate, but parents and guardians did so for younger children. The percentage of calories burned by participants is NOVA food classification system Developed by researchers at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

For more information:
Trends in super-processed food consumption among US adolescents aged 2-19 years from 1999 to 2018 JAMA (2021).… 1001/jama.2021.10238

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Tufts University

Quote: Super-processed foods are currently available from on August 10, 2021 for children and teenage meals (2021). It accounts for 2/3 of the calories (August 10). html

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Super-processed foods now account for two-thirds of the calories in children’s and teens’ diets

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