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Parents feeding their kids too much sugar?

health and fitness Updated: Mar 01, 2012 14:27 IST
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A recent national health survey across the US has found that children continue to be fed too much sugar, particularly Caucasian boys.

A new study out of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, released February 29, highlights a few gender and ethnic differences in sugar intake among children in the US who, overall, are still consuming too much sugar for their own good, researchers said.

About 16 percent of children and adolescents' total caloric intake came from added sugars. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommends limiting sugars and solid fats to between 5 and 15 percent of daily caloric intake.

After drawing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005-2008, researchers found that Caucasian children and teens consume a large percent of their calories from added sugars compared to Latin-American kids.

While boys consume more sugar than girls in absolute amounts, when expressed in terms of percentage of their total caloric intake, sugar consumption between the sexes was found to be roughly the same.

Interestingly, researchers also found that empty sugar calories came mostly from food sources -- whether it be sweets or processed foods -- as opposed to beverages, a finding that could throw a wrench in the continuing controversy over the role of soda pop on childhood obesity.

While some studies say that banning sugary drinks is an ineffective strategy, others claim that imposing a soda tax could save lives.

Researchers also found that most of the added sugar calories were consumed at home, rather than away from home -- a finding that suggests parents need to clean out their pantries and refrigerators.

Some of the biggest culprits of empty, sugary calories? Processed foods like sugary cereals, granola bars, cookies, candies, juice and soda.