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Children and Adolescents Who Eat Candy Are Less Overweight or Obese
NEWS PROVIDED BY The National Candy Association
Children and adolescents who eat candy tend to weigh less than their non-consuming counterparts, according to a new study (funded by the National Candy Association and was published in Food & Nutrition Research, a peer-reviewed journal.
This is potentially important news because of the current state of the childhood obesity epidemic. However, lead researcher Carol O'Neil, PhD, MPH, LDN, RD, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, wants to ensure the study is put into perspective.
"The study illustrates that children and adolescents who consume candy are less likely to be overweight," O'Neil said. "However, the results of this study should not be construed as permission to overeat sweets. Candy and sweets should not replace nutrient-dense foods in the diet; it is a special treat and should be enjoyed in moderation."
Similar to a sister study that focused on adults, this study examined the connection of candy consumption on intakes of total energy, fat, and added sugars; diet quality; weight/adiposity parameters; and risk factors for cardiovascular disease in 11,182 U.S. children 2-13 years of age and adolescents 14-18 years of age participating in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
While children and adolescent candy consumers in the study did have slightly higher intakes of total energy and added sugars, they were less likely to be overweight or obese than children who did not consume any candy/sweets/lollies - suggesting their ability to successfully manage the "calories in, calories out," balance over time.
"Candy is a fun part of children's lives – as a treat, in celebrations and for holidays," said Alison Bodor, senior vice president of public policy and advocacy, National Candy Association. "It's not intended to replace nutrient-dense foods in the diet, but it certainly can provide moments of happiness within the context of a healthy lifestyle."