Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

Too Few Kids Use Fast-Food Calorie Info, Study Finds

THURSDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- While some fast-food chains are required to provide calorie and other nutritional information to help customers make informed choices, kids who eat fast food at least twice a week are 50 percent less likely to use this information than kids who eat fast food less often, according to a new U.S. study.

Those most likely to use the calorie information are girls and children who are obese, said the researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study was published online May 23 in the Journal of Public Health.

"Our findings are important given the high prevalence of obesity among youth and the adverse health effects associated with obesity," study lead author Dr. Holly Wethington said in a journal news release. "It is encouraging that a large number of youth, particularly youth who are obese, reported using the calorie information.

"This may have potential to lead to improved food and beverage choices as a way to manage weight, although more research is needed to assess whether youth know how many calories they should consume in a day given their activity level," added Wethington, of the CDC's division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity.

Childhood obesity has tripled in recent decades, partly due to fast food that is higher in calories, salt and fat than food prepared at home, the CDC researchers noted. In conducting the study, they analyzed mail surveys from 721 kids ranging in age from 9 to 18 years.

The survey, done in the fall of 2010, asked the children how often they ate fast food, and if they considered the calorie information on the menu. They were also asked if this information influenced their food choices. The researchers also considered the participants' age, gender, height and weight.

Fifty-six percent of those surveyed were boys, and while most of the children were a healthy weight, 13 percent were obese.

The survey revealed that 66 percent of the kids said they ate fast food once a week or less, and 34 percent reported eating fast food two or more times a week.

Forty-two percent of the kids said they considered the calorie information when making food choices; nearly 58 percent said they never used it, the survey found.

Girls were 80 percent more likely to consider calories than boys, and obese children were about 70 percent more likely to use calorie information.

Those eating fast food twice a week or more were 50 percent less likely to consider calorie counts than the kids who ate fast food less frequently, the investigators found.

The study authors suggested that public health and school officials could create educational programs designed to help young people understand calorie information so it can become a part of an overall weight management strategy.

"This welcome research adds to our understanding of young people and their food choices," Lindsey Davies, president of the U.K. Faculty of Public Health, said in the news release. "It's good news that some young people want to understand more about the food they're eating and are using calorie information when they eat in fast-food restaurants."

However, to fight the obesity epidemic, Davies added that it's important to know why young people choose to eat fast food so often. Legislators could help tackle the problem by banning trans fats, which have no nutritional value and can increase the risk for heart disease, she said.

More information

Visit Harvard Medical School for more on children and fast food.

SOURCE: Journal of Public Health, news release, May 22, 2013

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Sports Medicine and Adolescent Medicine
Joel Brenner, MD
Aisha Joyce, MD
David Smith, MD
Health Tips
A Chubby Baby Is Not a Sign of Obesity
A Weighty Issue: Childhood Obesity
Boost Your Teen Daughter’s Body Image
Cool Tools to Keep Your Kids From Smoking
Diabetes Tops Child Obesity's Health Risks
Growing Up Short or Heavy Can Be Difficult
Helping Children Conquer Fear
How Old Is 'Old Enough' for Contacts?
How to Help an Overweight or Obese Child
How to Prevent Childhood Obesity
How to Raise Healthy Eaters
If Your Child Needs Treatment for Weight Issues
Kids' Health Concerns Ease with Age
Obese Parents Influence Children's Weight
Teen Suicide: Learning to Recognize the Warning Signs
Teens and Talk: What's a Parent to Do?
The Metabolic Syndrome Puts Teens at Risk
Treating Teen Acne
What Kids Drink Is Important, Too
When Your Child Says, 'I'm Sick'
Quizzes
Botulism Quiz
E. Coli Illness Quiz
Food Poisoning Quiz
Food Quiz
Food Safety Quiz
Teen Health Quiz
Diseases & Conditions
Adolescent (13 to 18 Years)
Adolescent Mental Health Overview
Adolescents and Diabetes Mellitus
AIDS/HIV in Children
Amenorrhea in Teens
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma and Children
Asthma in Children Index
Bicycle, In-Line Skating, Skateboarding Safety--Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
Bipolar Disorder in Children
Bone Marrow Transplantation in Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Breast Conditions
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Diphtheria in Children
During an Asthma Attack
Dysmenorrhea in Adolescents
Ewing Sarcoma
Female Growth and Development
Firearms
Gynecological and Menstrual Conditions
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents
Home Page - Adolescent Medicine
Infectious Mononucleosis in Adolescents
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Major Depression in Adolescents
Meningitis in Children
Menstrual Disorders
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Muscular Dystrophy
Myasthenia Gravis in Children
Normal Newborn Behaviors and Activities
Obesity in Adolescents
Oral Health
Osteosarcoma in Children
Overview of Adolescent Health Problems
Pap Test for Adolescents
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Poliomyelitis (Polio) in Children
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries Overview
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Growing Child: Adolescent (13 to 18 Years)
The Heart
The Kidneys
Vision Overview
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)
Wisdom Teeth Extraction in Children

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.