Special Issue "Snacking Behaviors and Weight Status"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 August 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Alison Tovar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA
Interests: feeding practices; child eating behaviors; racial/ethnic minority populations; childhood obesity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Snacking behaviors have increased over the past several decades, contributing to increases in the contribution of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages. Furthermore, studies and reviews have suggested there is a link between snacking behaviors and weight status, yet some gaps in understanding remain. For example, there is a need to use a consistent definition for snacking occasions, a need to better understand the contextual and environmental factors that influence snacking in very young children, and a need for more longitudinal studies with racially/ethnically socioeconomically diverse populations. This Special Issue entitled “Snacking Behaviors and Weight Status” aims to bring together the latest research on snacking behaviors from infancy, childhood through adolescence and adulthood and how they may be associated with obesity.

Sincerely,

Dr. Alison Tovar
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • snacking
  • obesity
  • energy-dense, nutrient poor foods and beverages
  • children
  • adolescence

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Exploratory Analysis of Nutritional Quality and Metrics of Snack Consumption among Nepali Children during the Complementary Feeding Period
Nutrients 2019, 11(12), 2962; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11122962 - 04 Dec 2019
Abstract
The World Health Organization recommends feeding snacks between meals to young children. This study explored nutritional quality of snacks consumed between meals and consumption metrics (% total energy intakes (%TEI) and amount of kcal from snacks) to understand correlations with dietary outcomes (total [...] Read more.
The World Health Organization recommends feeding snacks between meals to young children. This study explored nutritional quality of snacks consumed between meals and consumption metrics (% total energy intakes (%TEI) and amount of kcal from snacks) to understand correlations with dietary outcomes (total energy intakes and dietary adequacy) and body-mass-index-for-age z-scores (BMIZ). Data used were 24-h dietary recalls and anthropometric measurements among a representative sample (n = 679) of one-year-olds in Nepal. Nepali meal patterns for young children were identified through formative research and all foods/beverages consumed outside of meals were categorized as snacks. A nutrient profiling model was used to categorize snacks as healthy or unhealthy, based on positive and negative nutrient content. Snacks consumed between meals provided half of all energy consumed, and were associated with increased energy and nutrient intakes. The positive effect of snacks between meals on dietary adequacy was greater when these snacks were healthy, while increasing %TEI from unhealthy snacks consumed between meals was negatively associated with dietary adequacy. Consumption of snacks between meals was not associated with mean BMIZ among the children. These findings indicate that the provision of and nutritional quality of snacks are important considerations to communicate to caregivers. Discouragement of unhealthy, nutrient-poor snacks is critical for complementary feeding dietary guidelines in contexts experiencing nutrition transition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snacking Behaviors and Weight Status)
Open AccessArticle
Associations of Less Healthy Snack Food Consumption with Infant Weight-for-Length Z-Score Trajectories: Findings from the Nurture Cohort Study
Nutrients 2019, 11(11), 2752; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112752 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Little is known about the impact of less healthy snack foods on weight trajectories during infancy. This secondary analysis of data from the Nurture cohort explored prospective associations of less healthy snack foods with infant weight trajectories. Pregnant women were recruited and, upon [...] Read more.
Little is known about the impact of less healthy snack foods on weight trajectories during infancy. This secondary analysis of data from the Nurture cohort explored prospective associations of less healthy snack foods with infant weight trajectories. Pregnant women were recruited and, upon delivery of a single live infant, 666 mothers agreed to participate. Mothers completed sociodemographic and infant feeding questionnaires, and infant anthropometrics were collected during home visits at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Less healthy snack food consumption was assessed by asking how frequently baby snacks and sweets were consumed each day during the previous three months. Multilevel growth curve models explored associations of baby snacks and sweets with infant weight-for-length (WFL) z-scores. On average, mothers were 27 years old, 71.5% were non-Hispanic Black, and 55.4% had household incomes of ≤$20,000/year. Consumption of less healthy snack foods increased during infancy with a median intake of 3.0 baby snacks/day and 0.7 sweets/day between 10 and 12 months. Growth curve models showed that infants who consumed sweets >2 times/day had significantly higher WFL z-scores during the second half of infancy compared to infants who never consumed sweets. Less healthy snacks may contribute to the risk of obesity during infancy and promoting healthy snack food choices during this critical time is important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snacking Behaviors and Weight Status)
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Open AccessArticle
Commercial Snack Food and Beverage Consumption Prevalence among Children 6–59 Months in West Africa
Nutrients 2019, 11(11), 2715; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112715 - 09 Nov 2019
Abstract
Consumption of commercial snack food and beverage products among infants, young, and school-aged children may have negative effects on child nutritional outcomes, as these foods are typically dense in energy but not in micronutrients. However, there is limited information available about the consumption [...] Read more.
Consumption of commercial snack food and beverage products among infants, young, and school-aged children may have negative effects on child nutritional outcomes, as these foods are typically dense in energy but not in micronutrients. However, there is limited information available about the consumption of such snacks in low-income settings, particularly in Africa. We contribute to filling this gap using data from 11,537 children aged 6–59.9 months from four West African countries (i.e., Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, and Niger). We estimated the prevalence of commercial snack food and drink consumption and explored variations within the sample by age group, urban or rural residence, household wealth status, and caregiver educational attainment. The results show that 25.7% of children in Niger, 31.5% in Burkina Faso, 42.9% in Mali, and 45.4% in Cote d’Ivoire ate at least one commercial snack food or beverage in the prior 24 h. Consumption prevalence was significantly higher in urban areas than rural areas, among older children (ages 2–5 y) than those in the complementary feeding period (6–23.9 months), and among children in wealthier households. These relationships were confirmed via logistic regression. Our results confirm the widespread consumption of commercial snack foods and drinks by young children in West Africa, a finding with relevance for nutrition policy and programming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snacking Behaviors and Weight Status)
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Open AccessArticle
Parents’ and Children’s Categorization of Candy are Similar: A Card Sort Protocol
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2472; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102472 - 15 Oct 2019
Abstract
American children frequently consume candy and, in excess, this may contribute to poor diets with attendant effects on obesity risk. Despite the ubiquity of candy in children’s diets, parental concern about children’s candy intake, and the diversity of confectionery products available, very little [...] Read more.
American children frequently consume candy and, in excess, this may contribute to poor diets with attendant effects on obesity risk. Despite the ubiquity of candy in children’s diets, parental concern about children’s candy intake, and the diversity of confectionery products available, very little is known about how children and their parents conceptualize candy. Card sorting tasks offer a novel and visual technique to explore and compare an individuals’ perceptions of foods and are useful where literacy is limited (e.g. young children). This study aimed to understand and compare how young school-aged children and parents categorize various candy products using a photo card sorting task. In individual laboratory sessions, children (n = 42, 5 to 8 years old) and parents (n = 35) categorized 51 types of candy based on their similarity. A cluster analysis showed that parents created more categories of candies than children (11 versus 8). For example, parents distinguished between candied fruit and candied nuts, whereas children tended to collapse these categories. However, 7 clusters were virtually identical between parents and children (93% similarity). The findings from this study can inform the measurement of candy intake and the development of education materials targeted towards parent feeding around candy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snacking Behaviors and Weight Status)
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Open AccessArticle
Eating Occasions, Obesity and Related Behaviors in Working Adults: Does it Matter When You Snack?
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2320; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102320 - 01 Oct 2019
Abstract
Reported relationships between frequency, type, and timing of eating occasions and obesity-risk among adults are mixed while associations with obesogenic eating behaviors remain unexplored. The Physical Activity and Changes in Eating (PACE) study was a group-randomized controlled trial to prevent weight gain among [...] Read more.
Reported relationships between frequency, type, and timing of eating occasions and obesity-risk among adults are mixed while associations with obesogenic eating behaviors remain unexplored. The Physical Activity and Changes in Eating (PACE) study was a group-randomized controlled trial to prevent weight gain among 34 small worksites in Seattle from 2005–2009. Baseline surveys assessed body mass index (BMI), obesogenic eating behaviors (e.g., fast food and distracted-eating), and eating occasions (i.e., snacks and meals) among 2265 employees. BMI and waist circumference were measured on a subset (n = 567). Time-periods for analyses included: morning (12:00 a.m. to 10:59 a.m.), mid-day (11:00 a.m. to 4:29 p.m.), and evening (4:30 p.m. to 11:59 p.m.). Multilevel linear models estimated associations between snack timing, obesity, and related behaviors while adjusting for meal timing, gender, and worksite random effects. Greater morning snacking was associated with increased fruit and vegetable consumption, while greater evening snacking was associated with higher BMI, higher obesogenic dietary index (intake of fast food, French fries, and soft drinks), and higher percent time eating while distracted. Associations with mid-day snacking were mixed. Patterns of association were consistent across repeated and objective measures. Findings suggest that evening snacking is more detrimental to healthy weight compared to snacking at other times of day. Reducing evening snacks may be an important and simple message for population-level obesity prevention efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snacking Behaviors and Weight Status)
Open AccessArticle
Associations between Snacking and Weight Status among Adolescents 12–19 Years in the United States
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1486; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071486 - 29 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Snacking is a significant contributor to energy intake among adolescents, but its association with weight status is unclear. To elucidate this association, data from 6545 adolescents (12–19 years) in the 2005–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were analyzed. The mean number [...] Read more.
Snacking is a significant contributor to energy intake among adolescents, but its association with weight status is unclear. To elucidate this association, data from 6545 adolescents (12–19 years) in the 2005–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were analyzed. The mean number of daily snack occasions, mean snack size, and mean snack energy density were examined by weight classification (body mass index (BMI)-for-age percentiles: normal weight (NW) <85th; overweight (OW) ≥85th to <95th; obese (OB) ≥95th). Models included all snacking parameters, mean meal size, demographic characteristics, survey cycle year, and dietary reporting accuracy. Adolescents with NW consumed fewer snacks daily (1.69 (0.02) snacks/day) and smaller snacks per occasion (262.32 (4.41) calories (kcal)/snack) compared to adolescents with OW (1.85 (0.05) snacks/day, p = 0.005; 305.41 (8.84) kcal/snack, p < 0.001), and OB (1.97 (0.05) snacks/day; 339.60 (10.12) kcal/snack, both p < 0.001). Adolescents with OW and OB also consumed more added sugar, saturated fat and sodium from snacks, but had lower mean energy density per snack compared to snacks consumed by NW adolescents. US adolescents with OW and OB consume more snacks daily and more calories at each snacking occasion compared to adolescents with NW. Future studies should examine the prospective associations between snacking and weight status and impact on overall diet quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snacking Behaviors and Weight Status)
Open AccessArticle
Daily Snacking Occasions, Snack Size, and Snack Energy Density as Predictors of Diet Quality among US Children Aged 2 to 5 Years
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1440; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071440 - 26 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Whether snacks help young children meet nutritional needs or merely contribute to excessive intakes is debated. This research evaluated associations of snacking with dietary quality among US preschoolers (two to five years, n = 4217) in the 2005–2016 National Health Examination Survey (NHANES). [...] Read more.
Whether snacks help young children meet nutritional needs or merely contribute to excessive intakes is debated. This research evaluated associations of snacking with dietary quality among US preschoolers (two to five years, n = 4217) in the 2005–2016 National Health Examination Survey (NHANES). Snacking occasions, size, and energy density (ED) were estimated from two 24-hr dietary recalls. Diet quality indices included the 2015 Healthy Eating Index (HEI-2015, 0–100), the mean adequacy ratio (MAR, 0–100) for five shortfall nutrients (vitamin D, calcium, fiber, potassium, and iron), and the mean % of recommended limits for added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. Linear regressions included snacking parameters, demographics, and dietary reporting accuracy. Children had a mean HEI-2015 of 53.0, a MAR of 67.7, and intake of 121.4% of nutrients to limit. Daily snacking occasions were positively associated with HEI-2015 scores, whereas mean snack size and ED were negatively associated with HEI-2015 and MAR scores (all p < 0.05). Snack ED was positively associated with daily intakes of added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium (p < 0.001). These nationally representative findings reveal that more frequent, smaller, and less energy-dense snacks are associated with higher diet quality among US preschoolers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snacking Behaviors and Weight Status)

Review

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Open AccessReview
The Influence of Socioeconomic Status on Snacking and Weight among Adolescents: A Scoping Review
Nutrients 2020, 12(1), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010167 - 07 Jan 2020
Abstract
Eating behaviors, including unhealthy snacking or excessive snacking leading to excess calorie consumption, may contribute to obesity among adolescents. Socioeconomic status (SES) also significantly influences eating behaviors, and low SES is associated with increased risk for obesity. However, little is known regarding the [...] Read more.
Eating behaviors, including unhealthy snacking or excessive snacking leading to excess calorie consumption, may contribute to obesity among adolescents. Socioeconomic status (SES) also significantly influences eating behaviors, and low SES is associated with increased risk for obesity. However, little is known regarding the relationship between snacking behavior and SES among adolescents and how this may contribute to obesity-related outcomes. The primary objective of this scoping review was to review the literature to assess and characterize the relationship between SES and snacking in adolescents. The secondary objective was to assess weight-related outcomes and their relation to snacking habits. Included articles were published between January 2000 and May 2019; written in English, Portuguese, or Spanish; and focused on adolescents (13–17 years). In total, 14 bibliographic databases were searched, and seven studies met the inclusion criteria. Preliminary evidence from the seven included studies suggests a weak but potential link between SES and snacking. Additionally, these dietary patterns seemed to differ by sex and income type of country. Finally, only three of the included studies addressed weight-related outcomes, but the overall available evidence suggests that snacking does not significantly affect weight-related outcomes. Due to the small number of included studies, results should be interpreted with caution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Snacking Behaviors and Weight Status)
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