Sweetener keeps obesity at bay among children

Washington: Children and adolescents who eat candy tend to weigh less than their non-consuming peers.

"The study illustrates that children and adolescents who consume candy are less likely to be overweight or obese," said lead researcher Carol O`Neil.

"However, the results of this study should not be construed as a hall-pass to overindulge... and (candy) should be enjoyed (only) in moderation," added O`Neil, from Louisiana State University Agricultural Centre.

11,182 US children participated in the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They were aged between 2-13 years. Adolescents who participated were from 14-18 years of age.

Similar to a sister study that focused on adults, this study examined the association of candy consumption on intakes of total energy, fat, and added sugars for cardiovascular disease in these children.

While children and adolescent candy consumers in the study did have slightly higher intakes of total energy and added sugars, they were 22 percent and 26 percent, respectively, less likely to be overweight or obese than non-candy consumers, according to Louisiana statement.

"Candy is a fun part of children`s lives - as a treat, in celebrations and for holidays," said Alison Bodor, senior vice president of public policy and advocacy, National Confectioners Association.

"It`s not intended to replace nutrient-dense foods in the diet, but it certainly can provide moments of happiness within the context of a healthy lifestyle," Bodor added.

IANS