Dr. Craig Johnston, Instructor at the Behavioral Medicine Research Center and the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas who conducted the study said, “Teaching the kids what is healthy and showing them how to make changes in their diets by providing peanuts or peanut butter as a snack was simple and made sense to them. This approach helped us tackle a big problem – adolescent snacking.”
In the United States, 34% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese, with the Hispanic population experiencing the highest risk. Weight-loss interventions in this population have been largely unsuccessful. Eating episodes are on the rise and frequent snacking on nutrient-poor foods has been identified as contributing to excess calorie intake. Thus, this study targeted frequent snacking and the number of eating episodes as part of the intervention.
Participants in the study were Hispanic middle school children who were part of a larger weight loss study funded by the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS).
Previous studies have shown that peanuts and peanut butter can keep you full longer than high carbohydrate snacks and can be helpful in weight management. These data are consistent with these findings and show that combining education with the provision of a healthy, satiating snack, such as peanuts, can be effective at normalizing adolescent eating patterns and impacting weight.
The Peanut Institute is a non-profit organization that supports nutrition research and develops educational programs to encourage healthful lifestyles.