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Sweet or Salty? The Answer May Predict Weight Gain


Lots of kids love sweet foods such as cookies, candy, cake, soft drinks and ice cream, while some kids prefer salty snacks, such as chips and pretzel. Is there a chance that having cravings for one or the other could be associated with weight gain? Maybe...

Cookies or chips? Kids' choices may predict weight gain, study finds

This news story describes a study where researchers gave 200 hungry toddlers their choice of snacks such as cookies or potato chips and kept track of what each child ate. Then they found that kids who were more likely to eat sugary treats were also more likely to gain unhealthy weight by the age of three.

I'm not sure why that's the case, and it's not like salty snacks are always healthier, but maybe it's worth noticing. If you have little kids that love sweet flavors, steer them toward fresh fruit and berries instead of candy and sweets.

Smart Phones, Tablets and Inactivity

The use of electronic devices of all shapes and sizes has been associated with inactivity for a long time. When I was a kid I'd get yelled at for watching too much TV. Over the past couple of decades, video games and computers also got plenty of blame.

Today we have even more electronic gadgets to play with when we're waiting for someone or something. Or if we're just bored and killing time. We can read a lot, learn a lot and play a lot on our smart gadgets but they may be related to weight gain – at least in kids.

Smartphones, tablets and weight gain in teens study found obesity risk up 43 percent if kids used screen devices more than 5 hours a day

This news story from HealthDay News describes a study that finds teens who spend more than five hours a day on their smart phones and tablets were also more likely to drink sugary beverage and be less active. They were also almost twice as likely to be obese compared to kids who didn't use smart phones or tablets at all.

Water at Lunch May Help Kids with Weight Problems

Drinking water can help anyone lose weight when it replaces sugary beverages and a new study suggests increasing access to water at lunch time can help reduce the risk of obesity in students.

Serving water with school lunches could curb obesity, save billions

According to this University of Illinois press release, the researchers examined the results of a pilot program that was conducted in New York City between 2009 and 2013. Essentially, water dispensers were placed in school cafeterias. As a result, students' water intake tripled and there was a small risk of being overweight a year later.


Although it was just a small decrease in risk, adding inexpensive water dispensers in cafeterias could potentially save billions of dollars, say the authors.

Body Shaming Doesn't Work and May Hurt

Weigh-related discrimination hurts kids because it leads to emotional problems. Growing up is hard enough without being body shamed. An old school of thought is that overweight and obese kids feel bad because of their weight, but a new study suggests it's not the fat that's at fault for the emotional pain, it's due to responses of peers.

Weight-based shaming, not BMI, may cause kids' distress

This news story from MedPage Today describes the study that included middle school participants. The researchers found that discrimination from peers in seventh grade was a strong predictor of body dissatisfaction in 8th grade, even more than body mass indices. The study authors say this could lead to body dissatisfaction, social anxiety and loneliness.

When Kids See Parents as Role Models

Yeah, I know… as parents we often feel like our kids don't listen to us. And while that may be true sometimes, they do pay attention to what we do. When it comes to health and nutrition, your kids are looking at your for guidance, whether you know it or not.

Parents can play key role in setting healthy habits for kids

This story from HealthDay describes a Canadian research study that found parents who were more active and ate more fruits and vegetables were more likely to have kids who did the same.


I don't think this is a surprise at all. I do think it's a good reminder that our kids look up to us and, by extension, I bet they pay attention to what teachers and school staff members do too – so eat healthy and get moving.

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    About the author
    Shereen Lehman
    Shereen Lehman is a health and nutrition writer with two decades of experience counseling people on nutrition and diet. She has a master's degree in human nutrition and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Association of Health Care Journalists.
    Shereen writes about nutrition for the large website verywell.com and she, is co-author of Superfoods for Dummies and Clinical Anatomy for Dummies.
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