Over the past 20 years, the diet parents and schools are serving kids has deteriorated to the point the majority of their energy is coming from ultra-processed foods.
A new study of more than 30,000 kids by nutritional experts at Tufts University found that American kids, who have long consumed a diet of ultra-processed foods (e.g. the nutritionally-empty stuff that comes out of boxes, plastic wraps, and cans) has climbed to nearly 70% of their total diet.
Ultra-processed foods including sweetened breakfast cereals, pizzas, donuts, flavored potato chips, boxed mac-and-cheese, and so on.
Unprocessed foods, on the other hand (fruits, vegetables, home-cooked meals, etc.) now constitute just 23.5% of children’s total energy intake.
There was some good news in the study: kids’ consumption of sugary soft drinks and processed fats and oils declined by nearly half.
Clearly in an era when so many children suffer from record levels of obesity and diabetes, parents and school systems need to do better. Much better.