fbpx Skip to content


Ultraprocessed Foods Hurt Nutrition in Kids

It’s not a number to kid around with: 67%. That’s the troubling percentage of daily calories that come from ultraprocessed foods in American youths ages 2 to 19. This is according to a recent analysis of data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey published in JAMA.

Energy consumed from ultraprocessed foods—such as sugary sodas, candy, cookies and hot dogs—rose from 61.4% in 1999 to 67% in 2018. The percentage of total calories consumed from minimally processed or unprocessed foods fell from 28.8% to 23.5% during the same period.

Many health experts believe these heavily processed “foods” could be at the root of America’s soaring obesity and chronic disease rates. Low-nutrition convenience food today in children could be contributing to unhealthier adults tomorrow.

See also: More Evidence That Ultraprocessed Foods Lead to Obesity and Diabetes


Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay up tp date with our latest news and products.