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Biggest Loser nutrition expert Cheryl Forberg offers these facts about children's nutrition. You can also check out her advice/suggestions regarding healthy kids' snacks and exercise routines in the new Kids' Corner section of the Diet Center!
- On average, children ages 11-18 eat at fast food restaurants twice a week.
- When children and teens eat fast food, they consume more calories, fat, carbohydrates, added sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages. They also consume less fiber and milk, and fewer fruits and non-starchy vegetables.
- At least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week is the recommended minimum. However, only 23% of children and nearly 40% of adults get no free-time physical activity at all.
- A national study reports that only 8% of elementary schools, 6.4% of middle/junior high schools, and 5.8% of senior high schools provide daily physical education or its equivalent (150 minutes per week for elementary schools, 225 minutes per week for middle/junior and senior high schools is advised) for the entire school year for students in all grades in the school.
- Six out of 10 children ages 9-13 don't participate in any kind of organized sports/physical activity program outside of school, and children whose parents have lower incomes and education levels are even less likely to participate. Nearly 23% don't engage in any free-time physical activity.
- Among children and teens aged 6-19 in the US, 16% (over 9 million) are considered overweight.
- Among children ages 2-5, the prevalence of overweight has increased from 7% to more than 10% since 1994.
- The obesity epidemic threatens everyone, but not everyone is equally at risk. Among children and adolescents, obesity is more common among African Americans and Hispanics.
- Most overweight children have at least one major physiological risk factor (besides overweight) for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high insulin or high blood pressure.
- Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. This increases to 80% if one or more parent is overweight or obese.
- Overweight children are more likely to have abnormally thick heart muscle ue when they become adults, which increases the risk of heart attack and heart failure.
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