Thursday, November 05, 2015

Potato chips one of the leading causes of obesity in children, study says

Potato chips are the main culprit in the obesity epidemic facing the world's youth, according to a study by Duke National University of Singapore that "looked at the types of food that are associated with overweight and obese children," Christopher Ingraham reports for The Washington Post. The study, which used data of 4,500 children in England in the 1990s, found that kids who eat potato chips gain the most weight. Researchers wrote: "We found potato chips to be one of the most obesity-promoting foods for youth to consume. Potato chips are very high in energy density and have a low satiety index, yet they are commonly consumed as snacks."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 17 percent of American children ages 2 to 19—12.7 million total—are obese. The 12th Annual State of Obesity report, released in September, found that the largely rural South is the most obese region in the country, led by Arkansas with an adult obesity rate of 35.9 percent.

Researchers found that foods that make kids fat pack calories but are not filling, Ingraham writes. Foods linked to weight gain were French fries; fried chicken and fish; processed meats; fatty spreads (like butter); "just about anything with added sugar—think desserts, sweets and sugary drinks"; refined grains, "like bleached flour, which are found in most processed foods"; and "foods cooked in oil, whether fried, sautéed or even roasted."

Eric Finkelstein, who teaches at the Duke Global Health Institute at Duke University and is the study's lead author, said "that calories from liquids are particularly problematic because they're less satiating than those from solid food," Ingraham writes. "Sodas and other sugary drinks, in other words, are doubly harmful."

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