Junkfood Science: Kids are kids

July 04, 2007

Kids are kids

The findings of this new study won’t be at all surprising to Junkfood Science readers, as it is another confirming fifty years of clinical and epidemiological research showing the same thing. Nor will it be at all surprising that the media has chosen to ignore it.

With a billion dollars being put towards “healthy eating” initiatives to prevent “childhood obesity,” it just wouldn’t do to publicize that researchers, using a variety of methodological findings, continue to find no meaningful or replicable differences in the caloric intakes, types of food or eating patterns of fat or thin children to explain obesity.

In the new issue of the International Journal of Obesity, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reported that they evaluated the food and beverage records of children at ages 3, 4, 5, and 6 and compared them to their mother’s prepregnancy weight status and the children’s weights. They found that, while all kids ate and drank more as they grew older, there was no correlation between their varying diets and their weight status or their mother’s weight status. Fat mothers weren’t feeding their children more, nor were the fat children eating measurably different from the thin kids.

As has been well reported in the medical literature, kids will grow up to be a wide range of weights based on their genes, eating an unrelated wide range of foods...

In related news —

While, we don’t generally report stories taken solely from press releases here, preferring original sources, this story in the news deserves a brief note as the source is the Associated Press. The AP conducted a review of studies of 57 different programs to teach children about “healthy” eating and found them overwhelmingly to be dismal failures, just as has we've repeatedly shown here.

Without citing the studies or exactly what the success was, they said they found only four that showed any success in changing the way kids eat, reporting:

The federal government will spend more than $1 billion this year on nutrition education - fresh carrot and celery snacks, videos of dancing fruit, hundreds of hours of lively lessons about how great you will feel if you eat well.... The results have been disappointing, to say the least:

-Last year a major federal pilot program offering free fruits and vegetables to school children showed fifth graders became less willing to eat them than they had been at the start...

-In Pennsylvania, researchers went so far as to give prizes to school children who ate fruits and vegetables. That worked while the prizes were offered, but when the researchers came back seven months later the kids had reverted to their original eating habits...

-In studies where children tell researchers they are eating better or exercising more, there is usually no change in blood pressure, body size or cholesterol measures...

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