Trends show ultra-processed foods account for majority of calories for children and teens

Health Watch

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — A study published Tuesday in JAMA analyzed ultra-processed food consumption among US children and teens from the past two decades. The authors of the study note the increase in childhood obesity and tried determining a link between the increase in ultra-processed foods and weight gain.

Researchers say there’s been an overall increase in ultra-processed food consumption, estimating that the calories consumed from these types of foods increased from 61.4% to 67.0%. The study also found that calories from whole or minimally processed foods decreased from 28.8% to 23.5%.

Lu Wang, PhD, MPH1Euridice Martínez Steele, PhD2,3Mengxi Du, MS, MPH, RD1et al

Ultra-processed foods include read-to-heat meals that contain preservatives and little to no whole foods. According to the study, foods like frozen pizza, microwave meals, and packaged snacks now make up two-thirds of children’s and teens’ diets.

You can read the full study here


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