CDC report finds fast food accounts for 12% of children’s daily calories
Asian children’s caloric intake from fast food is lowest, at 8%
Approximately one-third of US children and adolescents eat fast food on any given day, a new government report shows.
Fast-food restaurants also account for about 12% of their daily calories.
The report, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, shows that the proportion of calories kids get from fast food each day differs by race in the US. Asian children got about 8% of their daily calories from fast food, significantly lower than their non-Asian counterparts. (Non-Hispanic) black and white children’s calorie intake from fast food was about 13%, while for Hispanic children the figure was 11%.
“I can’t say I was surprised,” said Cheryl Fryar, one of the study’s authors. Fryar co-authored a 2013 study finding that adults consumed 11.3% of their total daily calories from fast food between 2007 and 2010.
The percentage of calories consumed from fast food differed little by sex, poverty status and weight status.
Teens between the ages of 12 and 19 consumed twice the average daily percentage of calories from fast food that younger children did. Fast food, thought to be higher in calories, has been associated with poor diet quality among children and teenagers.
According to the CDC, childhood obesity has “more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years”. Furthermore, dietary habits of kids and teens are influenced, among many factors, by the food and beverage industries.
Fryar said caloric intake among kids and teens has remained mostly the same within the past decade, and that between 2003 and 2006, the percentage was about 13%.
To collect data for the study, the CDC surveyed about 3,100 children aged 2-19 – or their parents – to find out what they ate over the previous 24 hours throughout 2011 and 2012.