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Healthy snacks improve nutrition of kids

ing them once a week about the foods they had eaten during the past 24 hours.

According to Sullivan, she was pleased to see that a simple intervention like providing healthy snacks could lead to such significant improvements in children's diets. Although the percentage of daily calories from fat did not decrease much, she pointed out that the outcome was the same as seen with other, more expensive and time-consuming interventions. For example, a 3-month education program was found to lower the percentage of calories youngsters got from fat by only 1.5%--less than this study achieved.

Sullivan said she thought snacking was a "critical area" to focus on for improving kids' diets, given that it takes up such as large proportion of their daily food intake. However, that it is up to parents and schools to provide healthy snack options for children, such as fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Young people may be afraid to try new foods, she said, but if adults can introduce children to healthy alternatives to junk food, "then they'd be more accepting of them, and more likely to eat them in the future.


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