Associations between Snacking and Weight Status among Adolescents 12-19 Years in the United States.Nutrients. 2019 Jun 29; 11(7)N
Snacking is a significant contributor to energy intake among adolescents, but its association with weight status is unclear. To elucidate this association, data from 6545 adolescents (12-19 years) in the 2005-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were analyzed. The mean number of daily snack occasions, mean snack size, and mean snack energy density were examined by weight classification (body mass index (BMI)-for-age percentiles: normal weight (NW) <85th; overweight (OW) ≥85th to <95th; obese (OB) ≥95th). Models included all snacking parameters, mean meal size, demographic characteristics, survey cycle year, and dietary reporting accuracy. Adolescents with NW consumed fewer snacks daily (1.69 (0.02) snacks/day) and smaller snacks per occasion (262.32 (4.41) calories (kcal)/snack) compared to adolescents with OW (1.85 (0.05) snacks/day, p = 0.005; 305.41 (8.84) kcal/snack, p < 0.001), and OB (1.97 (0.05) snacks/day; 339.60 (10.12) kcal/snack, both p < 0.001). Adolescents with OW and OB also consumed more added sugar, saturated fat and sodium from snacks, but had lower mean energy density per snack compared to snacks consumed by NW adolescents. US adolescents with OW and OB consume more snacks daily and more calories at each snacking occasion compared to adolescents with NW. Future studies should examine the prospective associations between snacking and weight status and impact on overall diet quality.