Snack Patterns of U.S. Adolescents: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2005–2006
USDA ARS. Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Food Surveys Research Group, Beltsville, MD. Cereal Foods World 56(2):62-64.
This article is adapted from the USDA ARS, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Food Surveys Research Group, “Snacking Patterns of U.S. Adolescents: What We Eat in America, NHANES 2005–2006.” Food Surveys Research Group Dietary Data Brief, 2010. Dietary patterns established during childhood and adolescence often persist into adulthood and, therefore, have implications for the risk of developing chronic diseases. Rising rates of overweight and obesity among children and adults in recent years have led researchers to evaluate associations between various eating patterns and weight status. One pattern that has received considerable attention is eating more frequently, particularly in the form of snacking. Although some studies have shown that eating patterns that include snacking may help people meet their nutrient needs, other studies indicate that snacking can lower the nutrient density (i.e., the amount of nutrients per calorie) of the total diet. Data on the prevalence of snacking among adolescents and its association with body mass index (BMI) and food and nutrient intakes show that snacking by adolescents has increased markedly in recent decades and that many of the foods that make the largest contributions to adolescents’ MyPyramid intakes as snacks are also high in added sugars, solid fats, or both. Although snacking more times per day is associated with higher intakes of total calories, it is not associated with BMI in adolescents.