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LIU Post's Kathy Isoldi on the ‘Cupcake Crackdown’

Finds kids consume 20 percent of a day’s calories at classroom parties


Morgan Lyle,Assistant Director of Public Relations
LIU Post,
Long Island University

Brookville, N.Y. - Classroom parties may seem like a cause for celebration for elementary school students, but a new study by Dr. Kathy Isoldi, a registered dietitian and assistant professor of nutrition at LIU Post, finds that sweet treats like cupcakes are causing children to get 20 percent or more of their daily calorie requirements in a single serving.

In the study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, Education, and Behavior, Dr. Isoldi observed four classroom celebrations at elementary school in a low-income, urban community where cupcakes were served along with other sugary foods and beverages. She found that on average, children were consuming from 344 to 455 calories, which contributed more than 20 percent of their daily calorie requirements. According to U.S. dietary guidelines, children should get no more than 5 to 15 percent of their daily calories from solid fats and added sugars.

Isoldi spoke with CBS News and WebMD concerning her findings and noted that these low-nutrient, energy-dense foods can be a contributing factor to the rising rate of childhood obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of the nation’s children and adolescents were overweight in 2008. Childhood obesity has tripled over the past 30 years and continues to grow quickly.

However, Dr. Isoldi’s study also found that when fruit is offered alongside sugary treats at classroom celebrations, the average caloric intake dropped, from 259 to 455 calories. She suggests that offering fruit as an option gears children towards healthy eating as well as curbs their appetite for sweet treats.

“We have to think about what we’re offering children because they're associating celebration with all this sugar and sweet treats, and they do like fruit,” explained Isoldi.

Posted 12/08/2011

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