Researchers have found that adolescents who don’t eat enough fiber carry visceral fat in their abdominal cavity and have higher levels of inflammatory factors in their blood – two risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, according to a press release from Georgia Health Sciences University.
In a study of nearly 560 teens, university researchers found that the adolescents also consumed about one-third of the recommended amount of daily fiber.
“The simple message is adolescents need to eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains,” said Dr. Norman Pollack, a bone biologist and one of the study’s co-authors. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. “We need to push recommendations to increase fiber intake.”
The study comes at a critical time for the nation’s youth. More children than ever are struggling with obesity and type 2 diabetes – a condition that used to apply only to adults. But as more children put on excess weight at an earlier age, they face the same health risks as other diabetics: high blood pressure, heart disease, neuropathy and vision problems.
So how much fiber should an adolescent eat every day?
The recommended daily intake for females is 28 grams and for males, 38 grams, according to the news release.
Good sources of fiber include oatmeal, whole grains, beans, popcorn, brown rice, nuts, berries, and bran cereal.