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New Study: Restaurant Food Bad for Kids

Wow, here’s a shocker.

A new study published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescence Medicine says restaurant food is bad for kids.

Ouch, McDonald’s.

Don’t just blame the fast food outlets, though. Full-service restaurants are no better for children.

The study by Lisa M. Powell and Binh T. Nguyen of nearly 9,000 kids from 2-19 said:

Fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption, respectively, was associated with a net increase in daily total energy intake of 126.29 kcal and 160.49 kcal for children and 309.53 kcal and 267.30 kcal for adolescents and with higher intake of regular soda (73.77 g and 88.28 g for children and 163.67 g and 107.25 g for adolescents) and sugar-sweetened beverages generally. Fast-food consumption increased intake of total fat (7.03-14.36 g), saturated fat (1.99-4.64 g), and sugar (5.71-16.24 g) for both age groups and sodium (396.28 mg) and protein (7.94 g) for adolescents. Full-service restaurant consumption was associated with increases in all nutrients examined. Additional key findings were (1) adverse effects on diet were larger for lower-income children and adolescents and (2) among adolescents, increased soda intake was twice as large when fast food was consumed away from home than at home.

OK, for the rest of us: visiting a Quick Serve Restaurant increased caloric intake for 2-11 year-olds by 126 calories and 309 calories for kids 12-19. Full service restaurants were about as bad (160 calories and 267 calories respectively).

Not surprisingly with refills free or at-hand for sugary sodas, kids of all ages were far more likely to drink more soda eating out than eating the same food when taken home. The American Beverage Association will spend millions of dollars to fight soda taxes and drink size limits, yet it doesn’t take a weatherman to tell us which way the wind blows: sugary sodas add calories and contribute to diabetes and obesity.

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