London, Dec 16: Has your child been skipping meals recently? Beware, it could make him/her obese, says a new study published in the European Journal of Nutrition. (Read: Prevent childhood obesity by eating meals together)
How does skipping meals can trigger obesity?
When children skip breakfast, lunch or dinner, they naturally will tend to crave sugary foods when they feel hungry. This promotes unhealthy food habits like eating junk food. As a result, kids are likely to put on excess body fat and have a greater risk of suffering from lifestyle disorders like diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
For the study, researchers analysed eating habits in 512 Finnish girls and boys of six to eight years of age. The analysis found:
Most children’s diet was far from ideal
Less than 50% of kids ate all three main meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner – every day.
Instead, snacks were a major source of energy and sucrose.
A minority of the children consumed vegetables, fruit and berries as recommended.
As many as a quarter of the children consumed sugary drinks daily.
The intakes of saturated fat, sucrose and salt were higher and the intakes of dietary fibre
Vitamin D and iron consumption was lower than recommended daily dose among children.
The study revealed that children who skipped meals and ate more protein were more likely to have excess body fat.
‘Based on the findings, sticking to regular meals seems to be crucial for preventing overweight and cardiometabolic diseases already in childhood,’ said Aino-Maija Eloranta from University of Eastern Finland.