A recent study found that 20 percent of children and teenagers eat pizza, while 20 percent of the daily calorie intake of a U.S. kid originates from pizza. Researchers said that the findings were worrisome and parents should do something to curb their kids‘ consumption of pizza.
Scientists also found that pizza is the second highest energy source (the first source being grain-based desserts) in the diets of kids and teens.
“Pizza is a significant source of calories in the diets of children and teens. It was surprising to me to learn that on any given day 20 percent of children and teenagers are eating pizza,”
explained Dr. William Dietz, one of the authors of the study.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, and it was published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.
For their study, scientists analyzed the data gathered during the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), an 8-year-long national survey.
The study revealed that on the days kids were eating pizza, 20 percent of their daily calorie intake originated from pizza. Additionally, during those days, kids got 600 more calories than the recommended intake, although they were eating only a 300-calorie worth of pizza serving.
Researchers said that the extra calories could be the result of kids eating pizza more than once a day. They also recommended parents to curb the unhealthy pizza consumption in their kids diets.
“Stay away from the ones that are swimming in cheese. Reduce the frequency; have smaller slices; and choose healthier options like mushrooms, onions and peppers instead of pepperoni and sausage,”
Dr. Dietz recommended.
Scientists are aware that removing pizza for good from the children’s diets is not an easy task for working parents.
Some parents say that pizza is a good choice for a quick family dinner since they do not have to cook and wash dishes, but stay and enjoy their free time with their children instead. Additionally, some parents think that pizza is a healthy meal since it has some carbohydrates and protein from the cheese topping.
Also, the federal government stated four years ago that pizza with tomato sauce was as good as a vegetable serving in school lunches.
However, George Washington researchers think that pizza gets healthier only if it is eaten with moderation within a meal plan. Otherwise it just contributes to the national epidemics of obesity and heart condition among young people.
Dana Rofey, a psychologist at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, said that pizza could get even healthier if people ate it after a salad or a good serving of fruit or vegetables. Ms. Rofey also explained that she usually daubs off the excess grease from the top of the pizza before giving it to her kids.
Image Source: Your Education Doctor (blog)