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U.S. Kids Consuming Fewer Calories, Report Finds
Date:2/21/2013

he percentage of daily calories derived from protein -- think of beans, nuts and meat -- rose from 13.5 percent to 14.7 percent among boys and from 13.4 percent to 14.3 percent for girls during the 12-year period. However, protein consumption for black girls stayed around 13.5 percent.

Carbohydrate consumption -- carbs are found in breads, potatoes and pasta -- decreased among boys, from 55 percent in the earlier time period to 54.3 percent in 2009-2010. For girls, carbohydrates dropped from 55.8 percent of their total calories eaten to 54.5 percent. These declines in carbohydrates were not seen among black girls and Mexican-American girls, however.

Experts hailed the findings and credited wide-ranging efforts from the White House to schools and altered decision-making by parents.

Sharon Zarabi, a nutritionist/fitness trainer at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, believes that Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign may have increased awareness of the obesity epidemic and encouraged children to eat more nutritious foods and boost their activity.

"These results are surprisingly pleasing as I have been so conditioned to hearing only rising obesity rates," Zarabi noted.

"It's promising to see nutrition becoming a priority in schools starting with the banning of soda and sweetened beverages on campus," she added.

Zarabi said she believes the increased availability of low-fat milk, tofu, fruits and vegetables has encouraged children to make better choices at school and "hopefully at home."

Solomon also attributed the decrease in carbohydrate consumption to a better understanding of the empty calories in juice and soda. "It is possible kids are favoring water, seltzer or diet drinks as a response to the bad press about sugary beverages," she said. "In addition, high fructose corn syrup has been vilified over the past several years, and it's possible that parents and children are heeding the warning to reduce this type
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