Study: Fast food leads to more calories for adolescents, kids

A recent study showed that children and teens take in more calories when dining at fast food and full-service restaurants. Some chains have started offering healthier options, including meals for kids. Chick-fil-A’s grilled nuggets, paired with fruit cup and 1 percent milk, have 210 calories and 3 grams of fat. Photo courtesy Chick-fil-A.

Just about all healthy-living advice will advise you to avoid most fast food — most of it is higher in calories, fat, sugar and sodium.

Sure, restaurants are starting to include healthier choices on menus, but the temptation to order a Big Mac with fries and a soda still lives. But at least some transparency exists. Under the U.S. government’s health care reform, restaurants with 20 or more locations must provide calories on menus.

Since the 1970s, obesity rates and obesity related disease have rapidly increased, while fast-food restaurants have more than doubled, according to a report 2009 report by UC Berkeley.

Anyone who’s 40 and younger has lived all of their lives among this influx of unhealthy options. And it’s affecting our children and teens right now.

A January study — published online by JAMA Pediatrics — showed that kids and adolescents consumed more calories when eating fast food and food served at full-service restaurants. They also drank more soda and ate more sugar, sodium and fat.

Keep reading about the study and learn tips to eat healthier at fast food restaurants on Smart.

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