Zarabi said she believes the increased availability of low-fat milk, tofu, fruits and vegetables has encouraged children to make better choices at school and "hopefully at home."
Solomon also attributed the decrease in carbohydrate consumption to a better understanding of the empty calories in juice and soda. "It is possible kids are favoring water, seltzer or diet drinks as a response to the bad press about sugary beverages," she said. "In addition, high fructose corn syrup has been vilified over the past several years, and it's possible that parents and children are heeding the warning to reduce this type of sugar, among others."
However, Solomon expressed some concern that eating more protein is not necessarily a good thing. The availability of protein bars, soy snacks and Greek yogurt, which has nearly twice the protein, ounce for ounce, as typical yogurt, has likely increased protein intake, she said.
"We know that protein is essential for growth, but more is not necessarily better, as long as baseline protein needs are met," she added. However, "all food has calories, and it is possible to go too far and gain weight with an excess of any macronutrient -- protein, fat and carb alike."
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about childhood obesity.
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