Health survey finds that kids cut down on calories

February 25, 2013

New data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2010, reveal that US children and adolescents have reduced their average caloric intake, which could signal that the prevalence of obesity is easing in this population.

New data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1999-2010, reveal that US children and adolescents have reduced their average caloric intake, which could signal that the prevalence of obesity is easing in this population.

Among children aged 2 to 19 years, average caloric intake over the 12-year study period decreased for boys aged 2 to 5 years and 6 to 11 years and for girls aged 12 to 19 years. Boys’ average intake fell from 2,258 calories in 1999-2000 to 2,100 calories in 2009-2010. Girls’ average intake decreased from 1,821 calories to 1,733 calories for the same time periods.

Between 1999-2000 and 2009-2010, the percentage of total calories from protein increased overall for boys and girls, except for non-Hispanic black girls. Percentage of total calories from carbohydrates decreased for non-Hispanic white boys and girls and for non-Hispanic black boys. There was little change in percentage of total calories from total fat for either boys or girls.

The percentage of calories from protein, carbohydrate, and fat were within the ranges for these macronutrients in the population being assessed by the study; however, the percentage of caloric intake from saturated fat (11%-12%) remained above the 10% recommended by US dietary guidelines for these children.

Obesity rates for children have shown evidence of leveling or even small declines in some areas in recent years, which is a good sign, said researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.