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Sugar, Sugar, Sugar – Everywhere!

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The AVERAGE kid takes in way too much sugar! For kids ages 2 to 3 years of age it’s about 14 teaspoons per day. For kids ages 4 to 5, it’s about 17 teaspoons per day.  That’s just the average kid.  The highest level of added sugar is a whooping 23 teaspoons per day for the youngest preschool kids and more than 26 teaspoons per day for older preschool kids. (The Journal of pediatrics. January 2005; vol 146: pp 105-111) No surprise here, I’ve been in many preschool snack rooms.

Most alarming is that 25%  of the total daily calories came from sugar for around 12% of children ages 2 to 5. Know what to check for when determining how much sugar is in a food by getting the facts on sugar in food labels.

The mean intake for all persons is around 22.2 teaspoons per day (355 calories). With 14 to 18-year-old children having the highest intakes at an insane 34.3 teaspoons per day -that’s 549 calories all from sugar! (Circulation120, 1011-1020.)  And it’s not all from sweetened drinks.

If I had a dollar for every time a well meaning mom or teacher told me just let your daughter have some more cookies, an extra slice of cake at a birthday party, candy as a reward for yoga class, or offered her lemonade to go with a cupcake -I’d be rich! What is our obsession with over-feeding our kids with sugar?  Are we trying to make us feel better about our own food choices?  Our family loves to bake, but with all the outside sweets being offered at social events, play dates, schools and even when shopping (I took her out to window shop one night at only a handful of shops, she was offered cookies at 2 non-food stores), we can’t bake that often or it would be sugar overload. One week, no exaggeration, if I didn’t pack a healthy snack for my daughter she would have had cupcakes, birthday cake or rice crispy treats every day, six days in a row. S-u-g-a-r O-v-e-r-l-o-a-d! This is on top of the added sugar in foods that are already hard to avoid.

What happens with sugar, sugar, sugar everywhere? Obesity! The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. You can’t exercise enough to burn off that extra sugar.

What happened to moderation?  The definition has surely been rearranged and not to the benefit of our kids. Attention Moms –We need to reclaim the health of America’s future –our children!

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2 Responses to “ Sugar, Sugar, Sugar – Everywhere! ”

  1. Susannah on August 25th, 2010 9:18 am

    I was blown away by how much sugar kids are eating today. Do you have suggestions for what to give them so that they don’t feel deprived compared to their friends?

    Thank you

  2. Grandma Jann on September 9th, 2010 12:33 pm

    Some good snacks for kids would be small size sweet treats,small fruits, and veggies with a good dipping sauce (probably something you make yourself with yogurt or hummus for a good source of protein rather than sugar). Read labels like crazy, and compare how much sugar is in the treats you buy. Let the kid’s help become a sugar detective. Teach them about nutrition or learn together. It’s an ongoing process. They won’t feel deprived if the schools and parents serve more nutritious foods that are portion controlled for children (age appropriate). Good luck!

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