Study Reveals Oatmeal Can Play Role in Preventing Childhood Obesity

First Major Data on Fiber's Effect on Children to Be Presented at Experimental Biology 2003 Meeting

SAN DIEGO, Calif., April 11 -- Researchers from Columbia University and Quaker Oats are presenting a study at Experimental Biology 2003, April 11-15, in San Diego, Calif., which finds that the risk of obesity is lower for kids who eat oatmeal regularly compared to those who do not.

According to the study, the percentage of 2- to 18-year-olds who are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight is almost 50 percent lower in oatmeal-eaters than in children who do not consume oatmeal. In addition, children who eat oatmeal are about twice as likely to meet fiber intake recommendations, with fiber intakes 17 percent higher than those who do not eat oatmeal.

"This study found that children and teens who consumed higher intakes of dietary fiber had lower Body Mass Index (BMI) levels or less body fat," said Dr. Christine Williams, MD, MPH, Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Director of the Children's Cardiovascular Health Center at Columbia University. "Our data further suggests children who have diets rich in high-fiber foods, such as oatmeal, as early as age two could help them prevent obesity throughout their lives."

The data comes from the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Researchers analyzed the study data from the NHANES sample of 9,814 children aged 2 - 18. This is the only known study on dietary fiber intake and early childhood BMI that has involved a nationally representative sample of children in the United States.

"This study is important because it's the first study to use such a large national sample of children and analyze the role of fiber in obesity," said Priscilla Samuel, Ph.D., senior scientist, director of the Nutrition Research Program at Quaker Oats and co-author of the study. "High-fiber foods tend to make kids feel fuller, so they are more likely to eat less. Also, foods that are high in fiber, like oatmeal, are often low in fat and have fewer calories."

New Guidelines For Children's Fiber Intake

The study's findings reinforce the new Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for fiber issued by the National Academy of Sciences. Based on a standard of 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories, children ages 1 - 3 should consume 19 grams of fiber each day; 4- to 8-year-olds should consume 25 grams/day. Boys ages 9 - 13 should consume 31 grams each day, while girls ages 9 - 13 should eat 26 grams each day. Boys ages 14 - 18 should eat 38 grams each day, and girls ages 14 - 18 should still consume 26 grams each day.

About Quaker Oats

Quaker Oats is a leader in helping Americans reduce their risk of heart disease and has supported research in this and other areas for nearly 40 years. The company supports people who want to take control of their health, by offering nutritious and delicious products. For more information, visit .

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