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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Snacking and the Environment

One way to increase the health of teens would be to get them into the habit of carrying healthy snacks, when they are little. A recent study in Pediatrics with 800 elementary-aged children found that purchases made at corner stores contributed to the frequent intake of high-calorie, low-nutrition foods.

Makes perfect sense. Some of these kids shopped at these stores daily and with under a dollar could buy a snack with an average of 356 calories - and, in case you were wondering, they were not buying fruit, nuts, or bottled water. The most common snacks were chips, candy, and soda.

Limiting corner stores near schools would constitute a community level intervention, and families can help by making sure kids have single-servings snacks, water, and some constructive information about money management when they are young.

Photo credit: Greencolander

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.