CDC Says Processed Foods Are Making Kids Fat

A major reason more than a third of American children are struggling with obesity is the copious amount of sugar they take in every day, with processed foods providing a significant share. That’s the opinion of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which found that sugars made up 16.3 percent of boys’ calorie intake and 15.5 percent of that of girls. The CDC recommends that kids’ discretionary calorie intake be 15 percent or lower.

Citing CDC figures and recommendations, CBS News reports that all that extra sugar has been found to lead to increased risk of heart problems and high cholesterol in teens.

Processed foods and sugary drinks such as soda are among the chief ways kids inhale sugar, with 59 percent of excess sugar coming from foods and the rest from beverages. Snack foods including granola bars, cookies, candies and canned fruit are all responsible for sugaring up kids. It’s up to parents to monitor their kids’ food intake to protect them from a lifetime of food-related medical problems.

CDC: Kids consume too much sugar, mostly from processed foods [CBS News]


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  1. Karney says:

    This just in! Water makes you wet!

  2. chefboyardee says:

    I’ll take “Things that make you go DUH for 100, Alex”

  3. axhandler1 says:

    Stop the presses!

  4. HowardRoarksTSquare says:

    Parents afraid to let their children run around and play outside isn’t helping. Neither is kids sitting in front of the X-Box every day.

    Note to parents: your kid is most likely fat because you’re making him/her fat. He/she is not unique or special just another piece of carbon running around.

  5. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    I wish we had that problem with our two year old. Dude is allergic to just about everything and doesn’t like to eat what he CAN eat. The doctors wanted to put a feeding tube in, but we got different doctors that gave us more options. And the insurance company still paid! A minor miracle.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      Wish I could give you the name of the product, but the firend is not available.

      Friend has a kid who has issues gaining weight/swallowing. The swallowing issue will somewhat fix itself if he can get enough nutrition to develope more muscles.

      the started giving him a Boost/Ensure type supplement, we called it fat juice, that was chocolate flavored and free from most of the things that people would be allergic to (it is made for just this type of situation). I’ll try to find the name for ya.

      • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

        Thanks. We already have this (prescription) powdered formula stuff that we put in applesauce for him. And chances are he’s allergic to something in there. The list:

        Tree nuts
        The dog

        You get the idea.

        • travel_nut says:

          Poor guy :( 2-year-olds are tricky enough without allergies! Can you make him smoothies with fruit, spinach, rice milk, yogurt (if he can have it) and maybe protein powder? My 2yo freaking loves fruit smoothies and it’s easy to load em up with good nutrients.

        • Cor Aquilonis says:

          I don’t eat most all of that, just because I don’t like it! Sounds like your kids a natural born “paleo dieter.” I speak from experience, he won’t be cheap to feed. Bummer for you.

  6. eezy-peezy says:

    Proving once again that the CDC has a keen grasp of the obvious.

  7. Cicadymn says:

    BREAKING NEWS: NASA has just announced that the sky is blue!

    What an incredible breakthrough!

    • maxamus2 says:

      The sky is black, what you are seeing is just a reflection.

      • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

        Actually what you’re seeing is Rayleigh scattering of the sun’s rays, occasionally interspersed with concentrations of atomized atmospheric moisture.

        Nice try though.

  8. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    Not a direct blame of HFCS, but the process.

    AFAIK, the growing of corn for and manufacturing of HFCS is heavily subsidized by the government. While cane sugar (an many others) are subsidized, they are not to the extent of HFCS and other corn sugars.

    Cut back on the subsidies, let the price rise to natural free market levels and see what happens to all the added sugars of all types in the food supply.

    Less sugars in food (or higher prices in the processed foods with it) will tend to lead to reduced consumption of sugars. Even a 10% reduction in the amount of sugars used will get under the goal. And, realistically, if they cut 10% of the sugar out of foods processed foods, how many people would notice?

    • Cat says:

      While cane sugar is subsidized, it’s more that imported sugar has high tariffs. Because we don’t like Castro, you know.

      • StarKillerX says:

        you beat me to it Cat!

        Peanuts have much the same issue in the US, which is why more and more peanut butter sold in the US is made in Canada. They can buy the peanuts and sugar so much cheaper that even with the added shipping costs from Canada they can still sell the product for less then US companies are able to.

  9. Yacko says:

    “the chief ways kids inhale sugar”

    The best way to get some sugar is to snort some confectioners.

  10. gitmo234 says:

    I cant wait until the CDC finds out that exercise is good for you.

  11. AldisCabango says:

    Leting your kids play xbox and watching TV all day or text with their friends makes them fat.

    • HowardRoarksTSquare says:

      Well they can’t go out side. Didn’t you watch that Dateline NBC story about the ice-cream man that was a pedophile?

      • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

        Yep. They get fat with the ice cream, but they get into so much more trouble.

  12. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Maybe they should put pictures of really ridiculously fat kids on Snickers bars.

  13. bfwebster says:

    I also roll my eyes at stories such as this one. On the other hand, at the start of the year, I went on a ‘slow carb’ diet, which included eliminating sugars (sucrose, fructose, etc.) from my diet all but one day/week. I quickly discovered that sugars/sweeteners are added to a whole host of prepackaged foods you would not expect (mayonnaise, salad dressing, salsa, etc.). The trick is finding processed foods that don’t have sugar of some sort in them.

    • CubeRat says:

      I’ve stopped eating meat. I’ve been looking at meatless options out there and all of it has tons of salt/sodium. Fresh fish & peanuts have been my main proteins, and I continue to look for low salt protein options.

      If I can’t find more options soon, I’m giving up and re-joining the full carnivores.

      • travel_nut says:

        Dried beans. Canned beans are packaged with salt and either sugar or HFCS, so we buy the dried ones, soak them overnight, and cook them in a crock pot. It’s a bit of a PITA but they’re super cheap and much healthier that way.

    • Spaghettius! says:

      I’ve been cutting down on sugar in my food in general, and every time I find a reduced or low sugar option for foods I eat (like instant oatmeal packets) the food is packed with artificial sweetner. Why can’t ‘reduced sugar’ actually mean ‘less sweet’ like you’d expect? If people want it sweeter, they can add their own sugar or packet of Splenda because you can always add to taste, but you can’t take sugar or chemical sweetner out of something.

  14. andyg8180 says:

    unfortunately, many people are not properly educated in food quality and proper eating… they see fruit cup and think “oh its fruit, im ok.” Or they see a lean cuisine and say “oh im eating healthy” not knowing that its full of starches and fillers…

    It all starts in the schools… “Pizza is a vegetable” is telling kids that althogh you licked the tomato sauce off the pizza, you’ll be healthy… Its easy to say “Blame the parents” but unfortunately parents too are very uneducated in proper eating… i know my parents are, and i try hard to show them the difference when i see a “lean hot pocket” in the freezer lol

    Uneducated people then get sucked into fad diets like South Beach, Paleo, and other crap that makes billions of dollars on the human ego…

    We need to change our lifestyle, not use a temporary solution like a fad diet, or “light menus” when they can be just as destructive…

    • Ilovegnomes says:

      I agree!

      I love those, “Eat this, not that,” articles. They need to do that to address foods that kids are attracted to. I think that could be really effective. A lot of moms that I talk to, give up and cave to junk food because their kids won’t eat raw, plain veggies. When I give them ideas on how to dress them up, present them, etc, they get excited. I think parents need that inspiration.

  15. travel_nut says:

    It also has a lot to do with society trying to push sugary stuff on kids.

    I have a 2 year old. We really limit the amount of sugar he consumes. Husband and I have both struggled with our weight because of really poor eating habits that begun in childhood (parents giving us fast food, too much candy and desserts, etc). So we’re trying to instill good eating habits in the kid–we eat “clean” and his favorite foods include avocado, almost every fruit, and cheese. We let him have sweets and treats in moderation, which is hard because grandparents seem think they’re contractually obligated to stuff him with junk food.

    I was really surprised a few weeks back when, in one day, he was given two suckers, a huge cookie, and a kiddie ice cream cone. No wonder kids are getting fat if that’s how many treats they’re given in the course of an average errand-running day.

  16. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I see no compelling reason to think today’s kids are getting more sugar and/or “processed foods” than we did in the 70s and 80s.

    What I do see is kids that never play…anything other than video games. I also see parents that refuse to say “no” to their kids, in any regard.

    Ultimately the well-being of a child is the parent’s responsibility…and that includes ensuring they get an appropriate amount of exercise and an appropriate diet. If you want to let your kid sit around all day watching TV, texting, and playing video games, then fine – but you’d better not feed them anything other than salad and Kix.

    • Kuri says:

      We also see parents that won’t LET their kids play outside due to the media scaring them, on top of safe places for kids to go play disappearing or falling into disrepair.

  17. Sean H says:

    I always find it incredible that most parents don’t even pay attention to that kind of stuff. What do you guys think would need to happen before we start making major changes?

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Parents are well aware of the problem. But they deny it, because placating their children with tasty nutritionless calories is easier than any of the alternatives.
      I was a late teenager in the 1970s. I watched the advent of convenience foods, particularly the frozen variety. Things like fruit roll ups, bagel bites, and all sort of other things that weren’t available just a few years before. And people still ate mostly made-at-home stuff.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Says who? Growing up in the 70s and 80s as a child of a double-income middle class home, we essentially never ate “homemade” food. It was freaking weird if mom actually cooked a regular meal and we actually sat together and ate at the kitchen table.

        And no…I’m not a fatty. Not by sight anyway, although I’m aware I’m probably at least 20 pounds over my “ideal” weight as a guy at 5’9″ and a smidge and ~200 pounds. And the fact of the matter is that I was never even slightly overweight until college (freshman 15 FTW).

        I sincerely doubt that kids today are any more exposed to such stuff than we were. It’s not the food…it’s the utter lack of activity, and the utter lack of parents exerting any kind of concern for their fat children.

  18. cspschofield says:


    Before anything else, the chief reason for the “huge jump” in obesity is the major shift in the definition of Obesity that various government agencies made in the last ten years. Change the definition, and voila! The statistics seem to jump That the obesity statistics from today are a measure of one thing and the obesity statistics from, say, 1980 are a measure of something else is very carefully not mentioned by the buttinskis that want to use “rampant obesity” as an excuse to control what foods you can get. These patronising would-be aristocrats firmly believe that they were put on Earth by Divine Providence to guide all us Peasants. The guillotine is too good for them. And, yes, I’m looking at you Mayor Bloomberg.


    • crispyduck13 says:

      Do you live in Miami Beach or something?? Take a walk around any inland mall and tell me there is not an obesity problem in this country. I am literally half the size of most of the women in my area and I’m no zero.

  19. Sean H says:

    What boggles my mind is that parents either don’t notice or don’t care. What do you guys think would need to happen for us to start making major changes with this issue?

  20. Jules Noctambule says:

    Corn-syrupy drinks are new, but processed foods with added sugar have been with us for generations (though again, that old-fashioned cane sugar is mostly replaced by HFCS). And yes, Grandma used them, too. Cake mixes, bread from the store, gravy powder, pasta sauce in a can; you name it. Heavily processed convenience foods are NOT new. Hell, I have ‘recipes’ from the 1960s that call for macaroni and cheese in a can. May we have a fresh scapegoat, please?

  21. dolemite says:

    Cookies, cakes, etc, probably aren’t really to blame. Soda will play a big role, but I bet it isn’t the major culprit. Go look at all of the food in your fridge and cabinets. HFCS is the number one ingredient even in foods that aren’t sweet.

  22. wkm001 says:

    While everyone is making fun of the seeming obvious statement. I think it is rather ground breaking. Unlike the USDA with their food pyramid and their statement of “eat less”. This actually takes on an industry.

    If the government made everyone remove unneeded sugar from their products EVERYONE would bitch. Even if we all started to lose weight and get healthier. But if they removed a small percentage of sugar over time, say 3 years, we would never know. Unless you read the ingredients like I do. But I already don’t buy things with added sugar.

  23. dougp26364 says:

    That, and video games where kids sit on the couch instead of playing outdoors. Toss in both mom and dad having to work to pay for all the gadgets instead of having a stay at home parent and you have the trifecta for fat kids.

  24. MaytagRepairman says:

    Wow! What food industry lobbiest fell down on the job to let the CDC get that one through?

  25. BigDragon says:

    Kids make kids fat? Someone’s got to be shoveling all that food in their mouths.

  26. ChuckECheese says:

    Children are so fat these days. Can’t we make money off of that?

  27. scottboone says:

    Wait, so average intake is ONLY 10% higher than recommended (for boys)? And that translates into more than a THIRD of children are obese (not overweight, OBESE)?

    Seems that the “recommendation” is off, or someone’s science is.

    Oh, and by the way: the original article does not note it either, but it is FRUCTOSE which has been shown to affect cholesterol and triglycerides levels. Cane sugar, sucrose, is half fructose/half glucose. HFCS in sodas is 55%-41% fructose-glucose, 30% more fructose.

  28. smo0 says:



  29. sheldonmoon69 says:

    Why is it when big corporations make a piece of shit car, charge a new debit card fee, don’t fix your precious smart phone in time, or hassle you because you don’t have a receipt, you are out for BLOOD! But, when it comes to food, it’s somehow NEVER their fault.

    Why is it so hard to comprehend that it’s entirely possible that more and more genetically modified, toxic, addictive, metabolism tweaking ingredients have been added to food in the past 30 years? That, in that time, junk food marketing to has been honed and precisely targeted to circumvent parental control?

    Yes, absolutely, there are a SIGNIFICANT amount of people out there who should have had their reproductive card revoked the instant they hit puberty, but to heap ALL the obesity blame on parents seems short sighted.

    Is it completely out of the question to place at least some of the blame on these same companies that have no problem routinely stomping on the little guy for the sake of making a buck?

    Or does that only apply to when your backyard stream is glowing bright yellow, or your car’s heated seats break down, or your internet bill goes up?

    When it comes to raising kids, parents of kids today have a significantly tougher battle against this stimuli than your parents did. Make sure you put that into perspective before you lump it all on the parents of these kids.

  30. Ed says:

    In other news, water is wet.

  31. Kuri says:

    Some seem to be ignoring that another facet of the problem is that safe places for kids to play outside are either disappearing or falling into serious disrepair.