Daily Snacking Occasions and Weight Status Among US Children Aged 1 to 5 Years.Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 06; 26(6):1034-1042.O
To characterize associations of snacking frequency with weight status among US children aged 1 to 5 years.
Participants were children (n = 4,669) aged 1 to 5 years in the 2005 to 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Snacking was assessed by two 24-hour dietary recalls using definitions that considered "snack" occasions as well as other foods/beverages consumed between meals. Overweight/obesity (OW/OB) was defined using percentile cutoffs: ≥ 97.7th weight-for-length (< 2 years) cutoff and the ≥ 85th BMI-for-age (≥ 2 years) cutoff. Linear/logistic regressions evaluated snacking based on daily occasions and relative to current recommendations (two to three snacks per day).
During 2005 to 2014, US children aged 1 to 5 years consumed, on average, two to three snacks daily. Children with normal weight in both age groups tended to snack less frequently than children with OW/OB when considering all foods/beverages eaten between meals (P < 0.01-0.12). Across most snacking definitions, children < 2 years who snacked more frequently than recommended had greater odds of having OW/OB (P < 0.01-0.12) and consumed greater daily snack energy than those who snacked within recommendations (all P < 0.01). Recommendations did not clearly delineate weight status among children aged 2 to 5 years.
Snacking frequency and weight are positively associated among US children 1 to 5 years old, with most consistent associations seen among children < 2 years old and when considering all foods/beverages consumed between meals.