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How Pizza and Childhood Obesity Go Hand in Hand

The Short of It

Why is it that the foods we love the most are the worst for us? A recent analysis, published by the journal "Pediatrics," examined pizza's contribution to childhood obesity because it's such a childhood favorite.

The Lowdown

The analysis found that on any given day, 22 percent of kids between the ages of 6 and 19 eat pizza compared to 14 percent of toddlers and 13 percent of Americans overall. The only foods more popular with kids were cakes, cookies and doughnuts.

On days when little kids ate pizza, they ate an average of 408 additional calories, three additional grams of fat and 134 additional milligrams of salt compared with their regular diet. When teens ate pizza, it added 624 calories, five grams of fat and 484 milligrams of salt. It's no wonder that the childhood obesity crisis exists.

On days when little kids indulged in pizza for breakfast or as snacks, they ate 202 additional calories on those days than they normally would. For teens, pizza snacks added 365 calories to their daily caloric intake.

The Upshot

The good news is that compared with the earlier period, recent figures for pizza consumption was 25 percent lower for younger children and 16 percent lower for teens. The decline in pizza consumption was seen mainly in younger children who are white or African American, bringing them closer to the consumption levels of Latino children.

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