ConsumerWatchBy Julie Watts

(CBS SF) — A new study finds kids are gobbling up pizza at an alarming rate.

The Journal of Pediatrics study found nearly a quarter of all American kids are eating pizza on any given day and that pizza makes up nearly a quarter of their calories.

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The study found kids and teens are getting more calories from pizza than anything else they eat — besides dessert.

For many, it’s a wake-up call to reevaluate how parents feed their kids.

“I don’t think many people think about that,” CBS news medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula said. “So they’re really trying to raise awareness so that we eat
healthier pizzas, and also so that kids and adolescents understand how detrimental this can be.”

Narula points to the growing childhood obesity epidemic. Currently more than one third of US kids and teens are obese.

And the study shows kids consume an extra 400 to 600 total calories on days that they eat pizza.

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Instead of banning pizza, the authors are calling for healthier versions with thin crust, minimal cheese and lots veggies. But that could be a tough sell.

While the study’s authors did compare the negative effects of pizza to that of sugary drinks, don’t expect a pizza tax on the ballot any time soon.

They’re simply pushing for healthier pizzas, and frankly less of it.

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The study found fast food pizza had the greatest negative effect on kids health. But the good news is pizza intake has reduced a bit for kids 2 to 11 over the past decade — a group whose parents generally control what they eat.