WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- Scientists have found that consumption of ultraprocessed foods for children ages 3 to 5 is linked with poorer locomotor skills.
The study used interviews and fitness tests to collect data on physical activity, fitness levels and food intake for more than 1,500 U.S. children aged 3 to 15.
In this study, Ultraprocessed foods were categorized as including packaged snacks, breakfast cereals, candies, soda, sweetened juices and yogurts, canned soups and prepared foods like pizza, hotdogs, burgers and chicken nuggets.
Research team leader Jacqueline Vernarelli, PhD, associate professor and director for the Master of Public Health program at Sacred Heart University says that their findings point to the need to educate families about cost-effective ways to reduce ultraprocessed food intake to help decrease the risk for cardiovascular health problems in adulthood.
To examine the association between physical fitness and ultraprocessed foods during various stages of childhood, the researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) National Youth Fitness Survey.
The research also showed lower cardiovascular fitness in 12- to 15-year-olds who consumed more ultraprocessed foods.