A new study reveals that the number of American children eating fast food has gone down significantly these days. In addition, the research project also states that calories on the types of meals within fast food chains have decreased as well. The study specifically zeroed in on what types of foods U.S. children were reaching for at fast food restaurants.
Data taken from a 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealed that there was a 6 percent decrease in fast food consumption for American children, as compared to a 2003 study from the same institution. As well, caloric intake from pizza, chicken, and hamburger fast food chains have declined. While Mexican fast foods have stayed the same when it comes to menu items and calories, they did not contribute significantly to the total consumption numbers; making it challenging to pinpoint a decrease (if any) in regards to the study.
It was also noted, that pizza sales in general have declined from the 2003 to the 2010 study, and when they did choose fast food pizza; the children tended to consume less total calories. When it came to fast food burger joints, caloric intake declined, however the amount of days children would eat at said restaurants did not decrease. Another important factor regarding the downward trend is an increase in awareness from the general public when it comes to calories and portion sizes of fast food menu items. While menu labeling does play a factor in the survey, as this was introduced by most fast food restaurants in 2010, increased knowledge around calories and fast food menu items, as well as making informed meal choices were on the rise.
It’s important to note, the research focused on calories, but did not take nutrition profile of menu items into consideration. Coauthor of the study Colin D. Rehm, formerly of the University of Washington in Seattle and now of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts notes that, “U.S. dietary goals should be to reduce calories, and to improve the nutritional value of those calories.” He adds, “There’s always room for improvement in the American diet, but we are seeing some encouraging results,” he said.