A third of U.S. kids eat fast food each day

Gen­der, eco­nomic sta­tus and weight made no dif­fer­ence, ac­cord­ing to a CDC re­port

Toronto Star - - WORLD - KAREN KA­PLAN LOS AN­GE­LES TIMES

More than one in three chil­dren in the United States will eat fast food to­day, a new gov­ern­ment re­port says.

The same will be true to­mor­row, the next day and the day af­ter that.

On any given day, 34.3 per cent of U.S. chil­dren and teens be­tween the ages of 2 and 19 eat pizza, fried chicken, tacos or some other dish pre­pared in a fast-food res­tau­rant, ac­cord­ing to data col­lected by the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion.

More specif­i­cally, 12.1 per cent of these young din­ers will get more than 40 per cent of their daily calo­ries in the form of fast food. An ad­di­tional 10.7 per cent will trace 25 per cent to 40 per cent of their daily calo­ries to a fast-food joint, and 11.6 per cent will get fewer than 25 per cent of their calo­ries from one of these din­ing es­tab­lish­ments.

When you av­er­age it all out, Amer­i­can youth get 12.4 per cent of their calo­ries on a bun, out of a deep fryer or from another fast-food source ev­ery sin­gle day.

It doesn’t mat­ter if these din­ers are boys or girls. Whether tod­dlers or teenagers, the pro­por­tion of daily calo­ries ob­tained from fast food was sta­tis­ti­cally equiv­a­lent for both gen­ders, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, pub­lished Tues­day by the CDC’s Na­tional Cen­ter for Health Sta­tis­tics.

Nor did it mat­ter whether din­ers were rich or poor. Kids from fam­i­lies who were close to the poverty line counted on fast food for 11.5 per cent of their daily calo­ries, on av­er­age.

Kids at the other end of the eco­nomic spec­trum av­er­aged13 per cent of their daily calo­ries from fast food. That gap wasn’t big enough to be con­sid­ered sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant, the re­port said.

Even weight sta­tus had lit­tle bear­ing on the ap­petite for fast food. Chil­dren and teens who were un­der­weight or had a nor­mal weight av­er­aged 12.2 per cent of their daily calo­ries in the form of fast food. That was slightly higher than the 11.6 per cent for over­weight kids and slightly lower than the 14.6 per cent for obese kids.

Again, those dif­fer­ences weren’t big enough for the re­searchers to say they were real.

There was a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in fast-food con­sump­tion ac­cord­ing to race and eth­nic­ity, how­ever. Asian-Amer­i­can chil­dren were less likely than their peers to visit a fast­food joint: Only 8 per cent did so on any given day, on av­er­age.

That com­pared with 11.2 per cent of Latino kids, 13.1 per cent of cau­casian kids and 13.9 per cent of African-Amer­i­can kids. (The dif­fer­ences among non-Asian kids weren’t sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant.)

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