A&M study finds children consume more calories in snacks than they burn in sports

Published: Feb. 11, 2020 at 6:33 PM CST
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Texas A&M University's Chief Wellness Officer, Jay Maddock, conducted a study that measured how many calories children were expending in youth sports games, compared to the number of calories they were eating afterward.

"We found the average kid played about 27 minutes, and they expended about 170 calories, and they consumed about 213 calories, so 43 calories more than they were actually expending," said Maddock.

Maddock went to 189 youth sporting events and found that this is a contributing factor to childhood obesity.

"We saw a lot of baked goods, a lot of brownies, cookies and bags of chips," said Maddock.

Maddock explained they were getting a large bulk of calories from Gatorade and fruit-like juices. He recommends substituting the sugary drinks with water.

"When your kid is playing 20 to 30 minutes of soccer, they don't need all the electrolytes and sugar, water is fine," said Maddock.

Mother of four, Kierstyn Krajca, said sports are everything in her family.

"We kinda do all the sports," said Krajca


Krajca is familiar with those competitive days of bringing the best snacks.

"It fizzles out the older they get, but especially with the younger kids, it's definitely like that," said Krajca.

Krajca wasn't surprised that these snacks are contributing to childhood obesity.

Maddock is working with youth sports leagues and coaches around the community to put a policy in place that requires standards of the snacks parents bring.

"It's the Gatorade and the cliff bar, and it's a lollipop for doing a good job, It really adds up," said Krajca.

Maddock has a solution.

"Bring healthy snacks, like nuts and fruit," said Maddock. "Bring things that are not going to have a lot of calories, so the kid is getting some good energy afterward, but they're not getting bogged down by all the sugar."

Maddock said he's also reaching out to local youth sports leagues and coaches around the community to put a policy in place that requires healthy snacks on the field.

You can find more details on Maddock's study in the related links section.