Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Improving snacking patterns in overweight Mexican American adolescents

item Johnston, Craig
item Tyler, Chermaine
item Palcic, Jennette
item Reeves, Rebecca
item Foreyt, John

Submitted to: North American Association for the Study of Obesity
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2009
Publication Date: 11/20/2009
Citation: Johnston, C.A., Tyler, C., Palcic, J.L., Reeves, R., Foreyt, J.P. 2009. Improving snacking patterns in overweight Mexican American adolescents [abstract]. North American Association for the Study of Obesity. 17(2):S183.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Middle school students are known to eat at times other than regular meals, preferring to snack between classes or after school. These eating episodes often include high calorie foods with little nutritional value. Assisting adolescents to alter these patterns may be beneficial for weight management. This study compared changes in eating episodes for adolescents who participated in a weight management program with those in a PE class. Overweight, Mexican American, 6th grade students were randomly assigned to receive nutrition education and physical activity (NEPA; N=57) class or a physical education (PE; N=42) class. The nutrition class focused on teaching students strategies for making healthier food choices (e.g., categorizing foods, selecting appropriate portion sizes, reading food labels, eating at regular intervals). A baseline evaluation of eating episodes outside of meals demonstrated an average of 6.5 times. In addition to training the children to normalize their eating pattern, they were also provided a single serving of peanuts or peanut butter to eat as a snack each day. We chose peanuts/peanut butter because of its nutrient density and potential to promote satiety. Significant differences were found between the NEPA and PE classes at the end of 6 months for both eating episodes (F=17.78, p<.001) and after school hunger ratings (F=4.72, p<.05). Changes in number of eating episodes was positively correlated with changes in standardized body mass index at 6 month measurement (p<.05). A combination of teaching healthy eating strategies and provision of alternative snacks is an effective means of normalizing adolescent eating patterns. Further, these changes are related to improved weight outcomes.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page