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Significant Increase in Young Adults’ Snacking between 1977-1978 and 1994-1996 Represents a Cause for Concern!


Zizza, Claire A.; Siega-Riz, Anna Maria; & Popkin, Barry M. (2001). Significant Increase in Young Adults' Snacking between 1977-1978 and 1994-1996 Represents a Cause for Concern!. Preventive Medicine, 32(4), 303-310.


Background: Studies on children and adolescents suggest a large increase in the role of snacking; however, little is know about changes in the snacking behavior of young adults.
Methods: USDA's nationally representative surveys from 1977-1978 to 1994-1996 are used to study snacking trends among 8,493 persons 19-29 years old.
Results: Snacking prevalence increased from 77 to 84% between 1977-1978 and 1994-1996. The nutritional contribution of snacks to total daily energy intake went from 20 to 23%, primarily because energy consumed per snacking occasion increased by 26% and the number of snacks per day increased 14%. The mean daily caloric density (calorie per gram of food) of snacks increased from 1.05 to 1.32 calories. The energy contribution of high-fat desserts to the total calories from snacking decreased (22 to 14%), however, this food group remained the most important source of energy. The energy contribution of high-fat salty snacks doubled. Sweetened and alcoholic beverages remained important energy contributors.
Conclusion: This large increase in total energy and energy density of snacks among young adults in the United States may be contributing to our obesity epidemic.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Preventive Medicine


Zizza, Claire A.
Siega-Riz, Anna Maria
Popkin, Barry M.