Kids nutrition study: Fast foods don't meet the nutrient requirements your kids need
Posted on Jan 09, 2009 by Maggie LaBarbera
This is the first nutrition study to really examine the nutrients in fast food kids meals. The study reported:
- 25% of kids, 4 t0 8 years of age, eat fast food on a typical day
- 97% did not serve kids meals that provided the recommended nutrition kids need for their health
- Of the meals that did not meet the nutritional guidelines, more than 65 percent exceeded guidelines for total fat, 75 percent were deficient in calcium, 82 percent were deficient in iron and 85 percent were deficient in vitamin A.
- It was the side choices that heavily influenced the nutrient content (or lack of)
- Only 3 percent of kids meal served at a fast-food restaurant met the federal dietary guidelines.
- The ones that did meet the guidelines included fruit, milk and nearly all were deli-sandwich meals
Are we surprised by this finding? I mean, we already know this through our own common sense, right? What is concerning is what this study really means: Fast foods are significantly contributing to the health of our children. So parents, if this is your child's typical day or a frequent pit stop, then finding the fast-food that is in the 3% will be your challenge.What can you do to help your child eat healthier when going fast-food: read our Healthy Family nutrition tips sheet for eating out
. It has some good recommendations on how to keep it healthy.But, we need to stop and ask ourselves these questions:
- What kind of messages are they forming in their minds that they will carry into their adulthood?
- What are we teaching them about how to eat?
- What are we promoting as the everyday family meal?
- What is happening to their longterm health as their organs and bones and brains are forming with fast food meals as its nutrition source?