Summertime is perhaps the most enjoyable time for kids. From slurping on delicious fruit popsicles to frolicking in the pool with cooling drinks, kids have a number of summer activities that make the season a happy one for them. But summer nutrition for kids must be designed in a way to ensure they have enough energy to enjoy these activities, while keeping in mind their growth and long-term health. A new study has now revealed that summertime may be the unhealthiest of all, for kids, as they might be at higher risk of gaining weight during this time. The study looked at the eating patterns of kids between the ages of eight and 12 years during summers, to evaluate their diet and nutrition quality during these hot summer months.
The study titled, "Diet Quality and Fruit, Vegetable, and Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption by Household Food Insecurity among 8- to 12-Year-Old Children during Summer Months", was published in the Journal of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For the study, the researchers looked at data collected from kids and their parents during obesity-preventing trials in Minnesota. The mean of the kids was 10 years and 50 per cent of the participants were girls. Twenty five per cent of the kids were categorised as wards from 'food-insecure' households. The study spanned a period of over five years and it showed that the participants gained considerably more weight over the summer months, as compared to the months of winter.
The study blamed increased access to snacks and sugar-sweetened beverages, as well as increasingly sedentary hours during the summer months, as reasons for the weight gain in kids. The researchers said that kids spent more time in front of TV screens during summer, as compared to winter. The study concluded by saying, "Whole fruit and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption varied by food insecurity on weekend days during summer months. Because children tend to gain weight during summer months, efforts to increase weekend access to whole fruits and promote water consumption may contribute to weight gain prevention and healthy development, especially for children from food-insecure households."
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