Overweight youths consume fewer calories than healthy counterparts

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 17, 2012

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Young children who are overweight tend to consume more calories per day than healthy-weight peers. But overweight and obese youths age 9 to 17 take in fewer calories than healthy youths of the same age, said a study published online Sept. 10 in Pediatrics.

For example, obese girls age 15 to 17 consumed a mean of 1,637 calories a day compared with healthy-weight girls who took in a mean of 1,926 calories daily.

The study authors said obesity might begin by eating more in early childhood. But because overweight adolescents often are less physically active than their fit peers, they require fewer calories.

Researchers examined data on foods and beverages consumed on two different days by 12,648 people age 1 to 17. They participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2001 to 2008.

The study authors encourage physicians to educate parents of young children about healthy eating habits to prevent overweight and obesity. For adolescent patients who are an unhealthy weight, the focus should be on increasing physical activity.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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