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A Third of Today’s Diet is Junk

candy-barIf you think a candy bar here, a bag of chips there won’t hurt your kids, chew on this. New estimates claim junk food makes up twenty-seven percent of the average kid’s diet these days.

That’s nearly one third of the food they consume in a day – all going to empty calories. Makes you want to step away from the Milky Way, doesn’t it?

Published in the newest edition of the journal Health Affairs, the study comes out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where they found American children have added approximately one hundred sixty eight calories from snacks to their daily totals. That addition has built up since 1977, measured to 2006.

So what does that extra caloric intake equal? That’s the big (and scary) number: thirteen and a half pounds of body fat a year. That’s the size of two infants.

From just one hundred sixty-eight extra calories.

And we wonder why our kids are overweight?

If anything, this study puts a few things into perspective: the power of food marketing to our kids which many readers recently scoffed at. The power of those “little changes” to change kids’ lives.

More than anything, it puts into perspective the precarious balance between treating our kids and endangering our kids. No, a candy bar once in awhile isn’t going to kill them. But one candy bar a day could make a major difference in their life.

Image: dbking, flickr

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