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Eating Habits

  • Eating habits that contribute to health problems tend to be established early in life; young persons having unhealthy eating habits tend to maintain these habits as they age.

  • Of young people ages 6 - 17, 64 percent eat too much total fat, and 68 percent eat too much saturated fat.

  • Teenagers today drink twice as much carbonated soda as milk and only 19 percent of girls ages 9 - 19 meet the recommended intakes for calcium.

  • The average daily calcium intake of adolescent girls is about 800 mg a day; the Recommended Dietary Allowance for adolescents is 1,300 mg of calcium a day.

  • Less than 15 percent of school children eat the recommended servings of fruit, less than 20 percent eat the recommended servings of vegetables, less than 25 percent eat the recommended servings of grains, and only 30 percent consume the recommended milk group servings on any given day.

  • Only two percent of youth meet all the recommendations of the Food Guide Pyramid; 40 percent meet only one or none of the recommendations.

  • Most of the foods advertised during children's TV programming are high in fat, sugar, or sodium; practically no advertisements are for healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables.  Studies have indicated that, compared with those who watch little television, children and adolescents who watch more television are more likely to have unhealthy eating habits and unhealthy conceptions about food, ask their parents to buy foods advertised on television and eat more fat.

  • Children who eat more often with their families are more likely to eat the five or more recommended servings of fruits and vegetables and are less likely to eat fried foods away from home or drink soda.




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