Peanut Consumption Could Prevent Childhood Obesity

Pharmacy Times, October 2016 Diabetes, Volume 82, Issue 10

Children who consume a moderate amount of peanuts or peanut butter could be decreasing their risk of becoming obese.

Children who consume a moderate amount of peanuts or peanut butter could be decreasing their risk of becoming obese, according to recent study results published in the Journal of Applied Research on Children.

In the study, 257 Hispanic middle school children—a population at high risk for being overweight or obese—were guided through a 12-week physical education and nutrition education program. About half of the students were given a snack of peanuts or peanut butter 3 or 4 times per week, while the remaining children received the snack less than once a week.

Following the 12-week intervention and an additional 12-week period in which the participants continued to snack on peanuts, the research team found that the children who received peanut products more frequently saw a greater decrease in their overall body mass index (—0.7 kg/m2) compared with those who were not given peanuts as regularly (–0.3 kg/m2).

The study authors explained that children tend to consume more snacks after school, especially if they do not have access to full meals during the school day. This habit, coupled with a lack of physical activity, often leads kids to gain an unhealthy amount of weight during their adolescent years.

“We have a lot of kids skipping meals for a whole bunch of reasons,” said researcher Craig Johnston, PhD, in a press release. “What we found is that kids get home from school around 4 pm. There’s less supervision by parents and less structure. Kids are sitting down at the TV and eating, eating, eating because they really didn’t eat at school.”