Post-game treats linked to unwanted calories in children
Post-game treats can be detrimental to a child's health as the number of calories kids consume from post-game snacks far exceeds the number of calories they actually burn playing in the game, researchers have found.
"Kids are getting inundated with snack culture all the time -- celebrations at school, at birthday parties and youth sports games, we don't need to load children up with sugar after a game too," said study senior author Lori Spruance from Brigham Young University in the US.
For the study, published in the American Journal of Health Behavior, the research team observed 3rd and 4th graders over 189 games of soccer, flag football, baseball and softball, tracking both their physical activity and the treats they consumed.
They found parents brought post-game snacks 80 per cent of the time, with almost 90 per cent of the post-game drinks being sugar sweetened.
Physical activity was tracked using the SOFIT method, wherein a child's activity was tracked on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = nothing; 5 = running) every 10 seconds.
The researchers found the average energy expenditure for children observed was 170 calories per game while the average caloric intake from post-game snacks was 213 calories.
The average amount of sugar consumed post game was a staggering 26.4 grams -- the total daily recommendation for kids is just 25 grams -- with sugary drinks being the biggest culprits.
The study also found children averaged just 27 minutes of activity per game, with soccer players being the most active and softball players being the least active.
The research shows children should have 60 minutes of physical activity per day starting around age 5.
"So many kids are at games just to get their treat afterwards, which really isn't helping to develop healthy habits long term," Spruance said.