The adolescents in the study are part of a school weight management program, FLOW, conducted at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center in Houston, Texas, which is funded by United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). Currently 39% of Mexican American children are overweight or obese, compared to 32% of all children in the U.S., and the rates among Mexican American adults is twice as high.
A new study in Nutrition Research, “Peanut consumption in adolescents is associated with improved weight status”, showed that Mexican-American sixth graders that consumed peanuts at least once a week were less likely to be overweight or obese, had a significantly lower Body Mass Index (zBMI), and had significantly lower total blood cholesterol. In addition, participants who consumed peanuts had significantly higher intakes of vitamin E and magnesium and reported consuming more servings of vegetables than non-peanut eaters. Although there is clear evidence to support the multiple health benefits of consuming peanuts in adults, this study provides strong preliminary evidence that peanuts can have a significant impact on overweight and obesity in youth.