New Study: Boys Consume More Sugar than Girls; White Kids Consume More than Blacks and Hispanics


When it comes to our children and sugar, a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics contains some revelations that may surprise you: Older children consume more sugar than younger ones do, boys consume more than girls, and white children consume more than black or Mexican-American children.

But all these populations have one thing in common: they all consume too much sugar.

At a time when the medical community is growing increasingly alarmed by the epidemic of childhood obesity sweeping the country—and a related jump in the cases of type 2 diabetes among children—this sugar news is something that all parents need to focus on.

The scientists defined sugar as that which is spooned onto food at the table and that which is used in processed and prepared foods. Excluded was sugars found in fruit or pure fruit juice. To compile their data, the researchers used the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a continuous national examination of a large cross-section of the public.

For each portion of the population, the findings debunked popular stereotypes. Boys are the real sugar monsters—they got an average of 16.3 percent of their calories from added sugar, while girls got 15.5 percent from sugar. Teenage boys are the worst: boys age 12 to 19 consumed 17.5 percent of their calories as added sugar, while adolescent girls consumed 16.6 percent—and children age 2 to 5 consumed less than 14 percent sugar.

Clearly the lesson here is that the less monitoring a parent does of a child’s diet, the more sugar that child will consume. So we all need to be peeking around the corner when the teenagers hit the kitchen—particularly teenage boys.

As for race, white kids consumed the largest percentage of calories from sugar, while Mexican-American children consumed the smallest. And before you go there and think this all links to income, think again: Family income made no difference in sugar consumption, according to researchers.

A couple more things about our common stereotypes of youngsters and sugar consumption: It’s not just about the soda—young people got 60 percent of their sugar calories from foods, and just 40 percent from soft drinks. And lastly, you can’t blame the school—kids got most of their sugar at home, not at school or elsewhere.


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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


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