A third of U.S. kids eat fast food each day
Gender, economic status and weight made no difference, according to a CDC report
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.)