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Open AccessArticle

The Frequency and Context of Snacking among Children: An Objective Analysis Using Wearable Cameras

1
Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington 6242, New Zealand
2
National Institute for Health Innovation, University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
3
Department of Population Health, University of Otago, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
4
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2021, 13(1), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010103
Received: 2 December 2020 / Revised: 24 December 2020 / Accepted: 28 December 2020 / Published: 30 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Nutrition and Public Health)
Snacking is a common eating behaviour, but there is little objective data about children’s snacking. We aimed to determine the frequency and context of children’s snacking (n = 158; mean age = 12.6 years) by ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic deprivation and body mass index (BMI) children. Participants wore wearable cameras that passively captured images of their surroundings every seven seconds. Images (n = 739,162) were coded for snacking episodes, defined as eating occasions in between main meals. Contextual factors analysed included: snacking location, food source, timing, social contact and screen use. Rates of total, discretionary (not recommended for consumption) and healthful (recommended for consumption) snacking were calculated using negative binomial regression. On average, children consumed 8.2 (95%CI 7.4, 9.1) snacks per day, of which 5.2 (95%CI 4.6, 5.9) were discretionary foods/beverages. Children consumed more discretionary snacks than healthful snacks in each setting and at all times, including 15.0× more discretionary snacks in public spaces and 2.4× more discretionary snacks in schools. Most snacks (68.9%) were sourced from home. Girls consumed more total, discretionary and healthful snacks than boys, and Māori and Pacific consumed fewer healthful snacks than New Zealand (NZ) Europeans. Results show that children snack frequently, and that most snacking involves discretionary food items. Our findings suggest targeting home buying behaviour and environmental changes to support healthy snacking choices. View Full-Text
Keywords: snacking; eating; children; obesity; wearable cameras snacking; eating; children; obesity; wearable cameras
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gage, R.; Girling-Butcher, M.; Joe, E.; Smith, M.; Ni Mhurchu, C.; McKerchar, C.; Puloka, V.; McLean, R.; Signal, L. The Frequency and Context of Snacking among Children: An Objective Analysis Using Wearable Cameras. Nutrients 2021, 13, 103. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010103

AMA Style

Gage R, Girling-Butcher M, Joe E, Smith M, Ni Mhurchu C, McKerchar C, Puloka V, McLean R, Signal L. The Frequency and Context of Snacking among Children: An Objective Analysis Using Wearable Cameras. Nutrients. 2021; 13(1):103. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010103

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gage, Ryan; Girling-Butcher, Martin; Joe, Ester; Smith, Moira; Ni Mhurchu, Cliona; McKerchar, Christina; Puloka, Viliami; McLean, Rachael; Signal, Louise. 2021. "The Frequency and Context of Snacking among Children: An Objective Analysis Using Wearable Cameras" Nutrients 13, no. 1: 103. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010103

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