Pizza, Soda May Be Primary Causes Of Childhood Obesity

Pizza and "pop" pose severe health risks for children

With nearly 25 million children in the United States being overweight or obese, very high risks for many health problems exist. Research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association explains findings about common food items found in diets of American children.

Long time rivaling the fight on tobacco, the obesity problem in the United States is now considered the most dangerous health problem currently.

Experts explain improvements must be made in both food choices and physical activity levels to resolve this problem.

Research explains much of the caloric intake to be ’empty calories’ — calories holding very little nutritional value as a whole. Researchers stress the importance of decreasing empty calorie content found in many food items.

When analyzing diets, researchers discovered primary energy sources for individuals between the ages of 2 and 18 to be desserts, pizza, and soda. Nearly 10 percent of total calories were from sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda and Gatorade. Around 40 percent of total calorie consumption came from sugar additives and solid fat. Six foods resulted in 50 percent of the total empty calories: pizza, soda, whole milk, dairy desserts, and grain desserts.

Sugar-sweetened drinks pose many health risks due to their sugar and total calorie counts. These beverages alone have been proven to increase cardiovascular disease risks.

Researchers suggest reducing overall consumption of empty calorie drinks to be an extremely helpful factor in the fight against childhood obesity.