Food cravings are stronger, but controllable, for kids

Sept. 8, 2014, Medical Xpress

Children show stronger food cravings than adolescents and adults, but they are also able to use a cognitive strategy that reduces cravings, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“These findings are important because they suggest that we may have another tool in our toolbox to combat childhood obesity,” says psychological scientist and lead researcher Jennifer A. Silvers, a post-doctoral fellow at Columbia University in the laboratory of Professor Kevin Ochsner.

Most interventions aimed at preventing or reducing childhood obesity focus on changing the environment—by limiting access to soda, for example, or by encouraging physical activity. Continue reading

New, free USDA education materials show children how to make healthful food choices

June 25, 2013, USDA Blog

Research shows that students with healthful eating patterns tend to do better in school, and it’s important that children begin learning about food and nutrition when they’re young. In support of that goal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recently released three, free sets of curriculum educators can use to empower children to make healthful food choices and develop an awareness of how fruits and vegetables are grown.

The Great Garden Detective Adventure” curriculum forthird and fourth grades includes 11 lessons, bulletin board materials, veggie dice, fruit and vegetable flash cards, and 10 issues of Garden Detective News for parents/caregivers. Kids will discover what fruits and vegetables are sweetest, crunchiest, and juiciest through investigations and fun experiences connecting the school garden to the classroom, school cafeteria, and home. Continue reading

Obese kids more susceptible to food advertisements, brain scan study suggests

Nov. 30, 2012, CBS News

By Ryan Jaslow

A new study adds to the debate about the role food advertising has in the childhood obesity epidemic.

The study, published online Nov. 30 in the Journal of Pediatrics, finds obese children are more vulnerable to the food advertisements they may see on television, which in turn can make them more likely to eat as a result. Continue reading

Child cholesterol improves in U.S. as snacks lose fats

Aug. 07, 2012, Bloomberg Businessweek

By Jeanna Smialek

Cholesterol levels in U.S. children improved in the past two decades as makers of cookies, crackers, and French fries responded to public concern that trans fats used in their products may be harmful to health.

The prevalence of elevated total cholesterol dropped to 8.1 percent for those ages 6 to 19 from 2007 to 2010 compared with 11 percent from 1988 to 1994, according to a study today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. While no cause analysis was conducted, lower fat intake and more exercise may have contributed to the improvement, said Brian Kit, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the study’s lead author. Continue reading