*The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
It is the position of the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) that there is no difference between healthful foods for adults and for children aged 2 and older, except for age-appropriate adjustments in texture and portion size, according to a new position paper in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.
“If you think about kids’ food, the archetype or terminology that we widely use to describe the food that we feed our children, it’s really a social norm or societal construct that we’ve perpetuated,” says Pamela Rothpletz-Puglia, EdD, RD, School of Health Professions, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ.
Kids’ food is operationally defined as food likely to be consumed by children aged 2−14 years, either at home or in the community. There is a long-held belief in the United States that children need different types of foods than adults, and many of these foods are highly processed; energy-dense; and high in saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar. A diet favoring these foods can have significant detrimental effects on children’s preferences and tastes may exacerbate picky eating behavior sometimes seen in children and may impact their health in the future.
It is known that children over 2 years of age can eat the same healthy foods as adults, but kids’ food and menus have become a social norm. This social norm persists because ultra-processed foods like chicken tenders, hot dogs, French fries, and grilled cheese are prevalent in the food environment and they are highly palatable to children.
By shifting norms about kids’ food toward healthy food that both adults and children can enjoy, nutrition educators can promote healthy social and behavior changes at the individual, family, community, and societal levels.
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