Intake of unhealthy snacks highest among women, kids: Survey

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New Delhi, Dec 5 (UNI) Teatime to dinner is binge time for snack-lovers! Incidence of consuming unhealthy snacks before dinner among younger women and kids is high across all cities, a survey has revealed.

The pan-India study-'Understanding snacking amongst women and kids'- by research agency AC Nielsen shows that the highest intake of unhealthy foods, like noodles, chips, namkeen, pastas, biscuits/bakery products and a variety of snacks is in the pre-dinner period--the 5-7 pm bracket.

In Delhi alone, 89 per cent women and 88 per cent children consume unhealthy snacks during the pre-dinner period. 42 per cent of Delhiites consume both a tea time and a pre-dinner snack.

The study, just released in time for the festive season when unhealthy snacking is perhaps at its peak, surveyed 1,000 respondents - 200 each from Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata covering homemakers, working women (mothers) in the age group of 28-40 years, and children in the age group of 5-12 years, belonging to middle and upper income households. It covered their daily intake of various foods at regular intervals and found that it was the pre-dinner period between 1700 hrs and 1900 hrs when people binge the most.

According to the survey, this pre-dinner period sees the highest incidence of non-healthy food consumption. A wide variety of unhealthy snacks get consumed across cities in this segment of the day. This includes pakodas, noodles, burger/pizza, chaat, etc. All this in addition to biscuits, namkeens and chips or potato wafers.

Eighty four per cent women and 75 per cent children in Mumbai indulge in unhealthy snacking during pre-dinner time while 95 per cent women and 88 per cent children in Bangalore consume unhealthy snacks. Kolkata has the highest incidence of unhealthy snacking in the pre-dinner period among women and children which is as high as 92 per cent while 85 per cent women and 82 children in Chennai indulge in unhealthy snacking during pre-dinner time, the survey says.

Several leading nutritionists and dieticians across the country have welcomed this pioneering study on healthy and unhealthy snacks, which they opine will help dispel misperceptions around the health benefit of snacks especially in the long pre-dinner period between tea-time and when most people sit down to dinner after a long commute home.

Welcoming the pioneering study, Dr Karuna from Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi said, ''Pre-dinner snacking is the result of our fast paced lifestyles. However, if we make small changes to our eating habits and include easy-to-prepare healthy snacks like fruit chaats, healthy soups, milk shakes with different fruits, kathi rolls with vegetable, paneer and other stuffing, healthy "bhel" etc. in the evening snack, it can go a long way in moving towards a healthy eating pattern.'' UNI

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