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Overweight Teens Typically Eat Less Than Normal-Weight Peers
Date:9/10/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- As expected, young children who are overweight consume more calories each day than do their thinner peers, a new study says.

But, in a decidedly unexpected finding, the researchers also discovered that older overweight children may actually consume fewer calories daily compared to their healthy-weight counterparts.

"The message for society and parents is: Don't assume that a child who's overweight is overeating. Obesity isn't just a simple matter of eating more," said study author Asheley Cockrell Skinner, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill. "Be sympathetic. Overweight children reported eating fewer calories, and to lose weight, these kids have to eat even less. It's probably even harder for them to lose weight than we give them credit for."

Results of the study were published online Sept. 10 and in the October print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The study included dietary information from nearly 13,000 children between the ages of 1 and 17. The information came from U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which was conducted from 2001 to 2008. The population included in this study is representative of the U.S. population.

The food-consumption data were collected on two separate days, and children and their parents were asked to recall what the child had eaten in the last 24 hours and how much they ate of any particular food. The researchers had a number of representative measuring devices to try to get the best approximation of portion size that they could.

In young children, the researchers found that obese and overweight children tended to consume more calories. For example, in 3- to 5-year-olds, overweight girls consumed an average of 1,721 calories a day compared to 1,578 calories a day for their healthy weight peers. In boys of the same ag
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