Kids Eat Fewer Meals, but Snack More

Little girl with bowlIt seems like fewer parents are preventing kids from snacking for fear of ruining their appetites. In fact, snacks are replacing meals in many American households. A poll conducted by the American Dietetic Association founds that more kids are eating snacks instead of meals. Poll of nearly 2,000 families with children aged eight to 17 revealed that dinner and breakfast are sometimes skipped altogether.

The study examined the meal habits of different ethnic groups. They found that breakfast is sometimes missed by 42 percent of white and Hispanic children, and 59 percent of black children. Twelve percent of Hispanic and white children were reported to skip breakfast regularly, while 18 percent of black children regularly skip breakfast. Students who skip breakfast have been shown to have lower test scores and a harder time staying focused on tasks.

Dinner was also shown to be a meal often not eaten by children. Thirty-eight percent of Hispanic children, 34 percent of black children and 22 percent of white children said they did not eat dinner every night. Dinner is rarely or never eaten by three percent of white kids and five percent of black and hispanic kids.

Snacking, however, is very frequent, particularly right after school. The report said that 56.7 percent of white children, 57.8 percent of black children and 59.1 percent of Hispanic children eat a snack immediately after school.

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