While young children who are obese or overweight consume more calories per day than thinner children, a new study shows that older overweight children (like teens) can consume fewer calories per day than those who are healthy.
Asheley Cockrell Skinner, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, and also the study’s author, stated according to US News that:
“The message for society and parents is: Don’t assume that a child who’s overweight is overeating. Obesity isn’t just a simple matter of eating more. Be sympathetic. Overweight children reported eating fewer calories, and to lose weight, these kids have to eat even less. It’s probably even harder for them to lose weight than we give them credit for.”
The study was published in the journal Pediatrics on September 10, and included dietary information from almost 13,000 children between 1 and 17.
The information was taken from a US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted between the years 2001 and 2008, and included a representative sample from the US population.
The data was collected on two separate days, where children and their parents were asked to remember what the child ate in the last 24 hours, and how much of a particular food.
Biz Journals notes that the study found overweight children between nine and 17 consume fewer calories than their peers who are a healthy weight, meaning that many children who became obese younger than nine tend to stay that way.
Part of the reason for this is insufficient exercise. The American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry has said that studies show 80 percent of 10- to 13-year-olds who are obese will remain obese as adults.
Are you surprised to learn that older obese children usually eat less calories than their healthy-weight peers?
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