Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Moms Find Fun, Healthy Snacks That Help Fight Childhood Obesity

/PRNewswire/ -- A number of recent public research studies substantiate the rise in childhood obesity, the health risks in overweight children, and the questionable nutritional value of cereals and other foods kids consume. Yet one manufacturer -- Funky Monkey(TM) Snacks -- offers all natural, freeze-dried real fruit products that are not only fun and convenient for kids, but also provide most, if not all, of the daily fruit servings recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for kids.

The need for healthy snack foods that kids love to eat comes at a time of unprecedented concern over children's health. A recent report by the American Heart Association found that the arterial walls of children and teens who are obese or have high cholesterol are similar to that of an average 45-year-old. USA Today, in a June 2008 article, reported that 32% of all U.S. kids -- 23 million children -- are overweight.

Despite the warning signs, many foods commonly consumed by children are less than ideal. A 2008 study by Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity determined that children's breakfast cereals are significantly higher in calories, sugar and salt than an equal amount of adult cereal. In a recent University of Calgary study, researchers evaluated the nutritional claims of more than 350 food products marketed to children, finding that while 63% made health claims, 90% were of poor nutritional value.

Practical Fruit Alternative

By contrast, Funky Monkey Snacks contain no added sugar, preservatives, colors or flavors. The snacks are made using a proprietary freeze-drying process on whole slices and large pieces of fruit. The process, not used on any other snack available in the U.S., removes approximately 97 percent of the moisture content of the fruit, providing a crisp, crunchy texture, while retaining nearly all of the fruit's nutrients.

Funky Monkey Snacks are a healthier and more natural alternative to dried fruit or fruit snacks. Dried fruit does not preserve all the nutrients of fresh fruit, and fruit snacks often contain added sugars (including high-fructose corn syrup), colors, flavors and preservatives.

Scientists have learned that fruits and vegetables not only reduce obesity and improve a child's overall health but can also improve academic performance. Earlier this year, a study published in Canada's Journal of School Health, conducted by researchers at the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, showed that students with an increased fruit and vegetable intake and lower caloric intake of fat were significantly less likely to fail a standardized literacy assessment test.

A "Perfect Choice"

"Our goal for Funky Monkey Snacks is to finally give moms a delicious, organic, truly nutritious and go-anywhere snack that kids will actually enjoy," said Matt Herzog, President of Funky Monkey Snacks. "With the holidays fast approaching, it's more important than ever for parents to have healthy alternatives available amid the rush of activities. Funky Monkey Snacks are the perfect choice to have on hand."

Funky Monkey Snacks come in four varieties: Bananamon(R) (freeze-dried banana and cinnamon), Carnaval Mix(TM) (freeze-dried banana, pineapple, apple, papaya and raisins), Jivealime(R) (freeze-dried pineapple and lime juice), and Purple Funk(R) (freeze-dried banana and acai). Funky Monkey Snacks are available at SuperTarget, Whole Foods Market, Winn-Dixie, HyVee and other grocery stores, as well as through Amazon.com.

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