Washington — Peanut consumption in adolescents is associated with improved weight status, according to new USDA data published in Nutrition Research.
The study shows Mexican-American sixth graders, 39 percent of whom are overweight compared with 32 percent of all U.S. children, who consumed peanuts at least once a week were less likely to be overweight or obese, had significantly lower BMI and lower total blood cholesterol. Peanut consumers also showed notably higher intakes of vitamin E and magnesium and reported consuming more servings of vegetables than non-peanut eaters.
Researcher Craig Johnston, Ph.D., says: “Low cost and easily implemented interventions such as increasing peanut consumption may be one way to address health risks in at-risk populations.”
The results are consistent with data that show children who eat a serving of peanuts or peanut butter have significantly lower BMIs and higher intakes of vitamin E, magnesium, folate, niacin, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and selenium than non-peanut/peanut butter eaters, researcher Patricia Kearney, M.Ed., R.D., notes.