Snacks consumed after games linked to unwanted calories in kids: Study

Los Angeles, Feb 28 (PTI) The amount of calories that kids consume from post-game snacks far exceeds what they actually burn while playing, a new study says, which may lead to healthier dietary interventions for children.

According to the study, published in the American Journal of Health Behavior, the average energy expenditure for children observed was 170 calories per game while the mean caloric intake from post-game snacks was 213 calories.

'Kids are getting inundated with snack culture all the time -- celebrations at school, at birthday parties and youth sports games,' said Lori Spruance, study senior author from Brigham Young University in the US.

'We don't need to load children up with sugar after a game too,' Spruance said.

In the study, the scientists observed 3rd and 4th grade students over 189 games of soccer, flag football, baseball, and softball, tracking both their physical activity and the treats they consumed.

They found that parents brought post-game snacks 80 per cent of the time, with almost 90 per cent of the post-game drinks being sugar sweetened.

The researchers also found that the amount of sugar consumed post game was about 26 grams, while the total daily recommendation for kids is just 25 grams.

They believe sugary drinks are the biggest culprits.

According to the study, children averaged just 27 minutes of activity per game, with soccer players being the most active, and softball players being the least active.

The study said children should have 60 minutes of physical activity per day starting around age 5.

While the 43 extra calories the children are gaining may not sound like much, the researchers said if kids are playing a game or two a week, it could mean thousands of extra sugary calories a year.

'So many kids are at games just to get their treat afterwards, which really isn't helping to develop healthy habits long term,' Spruance said.

'The reward should be, 'I got to have fun, I got to run around with my friend or score a goal,'' she added. PTI VIS VIS VIS