Pizza Is A Main Contributor In Childhood Obesity


Kids love pizza. But eating pizza could really be slicing into children’s overall health, becoming a main contributor in childhood obesity.

Between the years 2009-2010, one in five children and about one in four teens in the U.S. had pizza. According to a new study reported by Lisa M. Powell, PhD, those kids and teens who ate pizza increased the about of saturated fat they consumed by 3 and 5 grams, and sodium by 134 and 484 grams.

Not only were fat and sodium intakes increase, but so were calories. Eating fast-food made pizza resulting in 323 calorie increases compared to school cafeteria pizza.

The study published in Pediatrics study data from 2003-2004 and 2009-21010 from kids ages 2 to 11 and adolescents 12 to 19. The participants were interviewed by gained dietary professionals about their diets and then again 3 to 10 days by phone.

The study found that daily energy decreased when the kids had pizza. One of the major concerns is the high sodium intake, which can lead to high pressure.

Not only is pizza tasty to children, but it also affordable and always an option.

“Given that pizza remains a highly prevalent part of children’s diet, we need to make healthy pizza the norm,” said Powell. “Efforts by food producers and restaurants to improve the nutrient content of pizza, in particular by reducing its saturated fat and sodium [salt] content and increasing its whole-grain content, could have quite broad reach in terms of improving children’s diets,” Powell added.

Pizza paired with soda can add to childhood obesity, as kids consume more empty calories without the nutrients they need to be healthy.

Parents should focus on serving pizza that is whole-wheat  or contains veggies.

[PHOTO CREDIT: rob_rob2001/ Fickr]


19 comments on “Pizza Is A Main Contributor In Childhood Obesity”

  1. When someone actually starts to analyze what they are eating and measure things like fat and sodium, pizza becomes a real shocker. I used to buy those frozen pizzas and eat the whole thing. I never knew how bad that was. Speaking of the children, I remember pizza day at school and by like 8th grade, many people were buying an extra portion of the pizza. How can educators make nutritional guidelines and strict portioning AND allow the students to buy extra items or even a an entire 2nd lunch?
    The whole wheat pizza is a good idea, but you should say whole wheat and veggies. It’s the popular pizza meats that are the sodium and fat bombs. I use some chicken breast or ground buffalo on mine these days. Pre cook your vegetables and crust before adding cheese, that helps avoid a soggy pizza.

    1. Thanks so much for reading, and for your insightful comment. I am a HUGE pizza lover and am guilty of getting those frozen pizzas from time to time, but I make it my “cheat meal.” Yea, I agree with you on a school pizza lunches. As long as there’s veggies on it, at least it’s something. Thanks for the tips!

    2. Love the idea of chicken breast on a pizza! I personally love a gluten free chicken Alfredo pizza with a ton of veggies! Such a great way to experience pizza in a different and healthier way!

  2. Its surprising to read how much pizza kids eat in schools but also that many kids go home to eat pizza again for dinner. We have to teach our kids good nutrition

    1. Great point. I recently saw a documentary (Fat, Sick, And Nearly Dead 2) which had a part that showed children where actually teaching their parents good nutrition they learned in school. If parents AND kids were engaged in healthy living together, the whole family could wind up living healthier lives.

  3. Thanks for sharing!! I love your informative posts! I agree that whole wheat pizza + lots of veggies is key!! Balance is definitely important!! Have a great day! XOXO

    1. Thanks for reading! Yup, I’ll about adding veggies to my pizza, but I just love cheese. hahah! You’re long as you have balance, you should be okay. Hope you had a great day! xox

  4. Lauren,
    That is exactly right, pizza plays a role in obesity among kids. First, pizza has lots of calories and high amount of sodium. These two combined leads to obesity and high blood pressure. I have to admit pizza is tasty, and probably that is why kids and adults loves pizza so much .I wish they had pizzas with low calories and sodium ,so we can eat more without compromising our weight and lower obesity cases

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