Friday, January 23, 2015

Pizza Intake Over 8 Years in Children and Adolescents: Slicing Up the Nutritional Risks


By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief 
     If you ask children and teens what one of their favorite foods might be, a safe bet would likely be pizza.  So how does a child or adolescent’s pizza consumption affect their caloric and nutrient intake—and better yet, has the consumption pattern changed over the past decade or so?  
     Powell et al. (doi:10.1542/peds.2014-1844) looked at four different annual sets of dietary recall data from 2003 to 2010 for children and teens from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and while controlling for various confounders, estimated the role that pizza consumption played on total caloric intake and amount of salt, saturated fat and sodium taken in daily.  Although caloric intake from pizza decreased over the study period, the prevalence of having pizza in the diet  was unchanged and in turn was associated with overall higher net total energy intake in terms of calories as well as with increased intake of saturated fat and sodium and sadly—this was seen across all sociodemographic categories studied.  
      The authors cook up even tastier pieces of information about the associated nutritional risks of eating pizza that await your perusal. Does this mean an end to pizza as a favorite meal for many of us?   No----but perhaps we could go with less “portion distortion” (i.e. smaller slices) and some healthier ingredients than currently occur with this popular dish.   
     Any ideas for a healthier pizza?  Share them with us by responding to this blog, sending an e-letter or commenting on our Facebook or Twitter sites.

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