Candy Isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing for Kids

Candy consumption did not increase chances of kids becoming overweight

(RxWiki News) Candy has often been a culprit in the obesity epidemic because the sugary-sweet goodness just doesn’t seem to provide any benefits other than a sugar high. This may not be the case.

Yes, childhood obesity is a problem and yes, candy doesn’t have any nutritional value. But researchers have found that children who eat candy are less likely to become overweight or obese. With this being said, it does not mean children should eat all the candy they want.

"Children can eat candy every once in awhile."

Lead researchers, Carol O’Neil, Ph.D., M.P.H., L.D.N., R.D., from Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, and colleagues studied the effects eating candy would have on weight, diet quality – specifically total energy, fat and added sugar – and associated risk factors such as cardiovascular disease.

The five-year National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study included more than 11,000 U.S. children between the ages of 2 and 13 and another group of adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18.

The researchers found that both groups who ate candy on occasion were less likely to become overweight or obese than children and adolescents who did not eat any candy . This finding was true even though the children and adolescents who ate candy had higher total energy and added sugars.

They also found that cardiovascular risk factors and body mass indexes (BMIs) were lower in children and adolescents who ate candy.

Even though the findings show that candy isn't harmful to overall health; it does not mean that parents should allow their children to eat candy every waking hour, says O’Neil. Candy is a special treat that should be enjoyed in moderation at times like special occasions and holidays, she concludes.

The study is published in Food & Nutrition Research.

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Review Date: 
June 30, 2011