I love it when busy parents talk to me about their kids and ways of avoiding too much added sugar. Its exciting to me when parents tell me that even with both of them working and all the after school activities, they still make healthy eating an important component for their family. Busy families are making it a point to talk about food, healthy meals and snacks. Parents tell me about making meal planning a family activity and about involving the kids in the  grocery shopping and meal preparation. Healthy eating for your family can be quick, easy and affordable. Let’s put an end to childhood obesity.

CDC Report: Kids Still Eat
Too Much Added Sugar

About 16% of Kids’ Total Calories Come From Added Sugars, New Report Finds

WebMD Health News, February 29, 2012: U.S. children and teens have cut down on added sugars but still eat too much, according to a new report. Added sugar consumption is high among children and teens. About 16% of total calories eaten by children and teens are from added sugars, Ogden found.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting intake of ”discretionary” calories, including added sugars and solid fats, to a total of 5% to 15% daily. Added sugars are defined as sweeteners added to processed and prepared foods. Eating too much added sugar has been linked to weight gain and an increase in cholesterol levels in teens that may raise the risk of heart disease.

Overall, the children and teens took in 16% of their total calories from added sugars. However, Ogden found that boys ate more than girls. Boys got 16.3% of calories from added sugars. Girls got an average of 15.5% of their calories from added sugars.

How might that translate to calories? “Boys 12 to 19 got 442 calories [a day] from [added] sugar,” Ogden tells WebMD. “A little over three regular sodas a day would give you that.”

Other findings:

  • Preschool-aged children 2 to 5 ate the least amount of calories from added sugars.
  • White children and teens ate a larger percent of calories from added sugar than those of Mexican-American descent.
  • Income levels of families seemed to have no effects on the amount of added sugars eaten.
  • Overall, more added sugars came from foods compared to beverages.
  • About 40% of calories from added sugars came from beverages.
  • More added-sugar calories are eaten at home than out.

Parents can help their kids cut down on added sugar intake. Limit processed foods, because that is mostly where it comes from. On this list are kids’ sugary cereals, granola bars, cookies, and candies. Jams and syrups can also have high amounts of added sugar. If you are shopping for canned fruit, look for ones that are canned in water and not syrup or juice. Also, cut down on juice and soda.

Read CDC Report: Kids Still Eat Too Much Added Sugar

I know that it can be frustrating to have your kids eat extra sugar at school and at the homes of their friends. I also understand the busy lives that families live today. But, childhood obesity is a preventable epidemic and being overweight can affect your child’s health for their lifetime. Make healthy eating a family affair.

When you are in the checkout line and your kids reach for the Snickers bars talk with them about it. Read the ingredients with them and discuss healthy snack choices. Be the parent and protect them from added sugars but make them part of the solution to ending childhood obesity. Involve your whole family in eating healthy. Look for fun ways of making healthy meals with your children. Healthy eating can taste great, be simple, quick and affordable!

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I involve my whole family in healthy eating.

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