In the NY Times is an article about our current culture of kids and snacking. Here's an excerpt:
Apparently, we have collectively decided as a culture that it is impossible for children to take part in any activity without simultaneously shoving something into their pie holes.
“Children used to come home, change into play clothes and go outside and play with other children,” said Joanne Ikeda, a nutritionist emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.
“There were not snack machines, and the gas stations only sold gas. Now there are just so many more opportunities to snack and so many activities after school to have snacks.”
Between 1977 and 2002, the percent of the American population eating three or more snacks a day increased to 42 percent from 11 percent, according to a large study of American nutritional habits conducted by the Agriculture Department with the Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the American Heart Association:
The prevalence of overweight (BMI-for-age values at or above the 95th percentile of the 2000 CDC growth charts in children ages 6–11) increased from 4.0 percent in 1971–74 to 17.0 percent in 2003–06. The prevalence of overweight in adolescents ages 12–19 increased from 6.1 percent to 17.6 percent. (NHANES, NCHS)