Children today are snacking more than ever, and they're snacking all day long on junk food, says a new study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Childhood obesity is on the rise, and it's no surprise, considering that 27 percent of children's daily diets now consist of such junk food snacks as chips and candy.
Below are a few facts from the study:
Children--even some at a very young age--snack as frequently as three times a day.
Children eat three meals a day, but also snack on a lot of empty-calorie foods during the day.
Between 1977 and 2006, children's caloric intake from snacks increased by an average of 168 calories per day (up to 586 calories total).
They are more likely to drink fruit juice and other sugar-sweetened drinks than milk and are less likely to eat a fresh fruit or vegetable at snack time.
Eating habits start at a young age, which makes it important to establish healthy eating habits, including eating fresh, healthy foods at snack time instead of junk, early on. Parents also need to set a healthy example for children to model after to prevent childhood obesity and encourage a healthy lifestyle for the entire family.
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Source: UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health