Posts tagged fast food
Given the importance of helping children eat healthier food, we wanted to share with you a brief report on the nutritional values of kid’s meals at America’s top chain restaurants that involved research by Salud America! advisor Dr. Mary Story.
The report, published in the journal Childhood Obesity, evaluated restaurants such as Arby’s, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Chili’s, McDonald’s, Sonic, Subway and more.
Of the 22 restaurants that had kid’s menus and available nutrition information, researchers found that 99 percent of 1,662 children’s meal combinations were of poor nutritional quality, based on key nutrition recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
At 15 of the chains, 100 percent of kid’s meal combinations failed to meet recommendations.
Kid’s meals ranged from 200 to 1,580 calories, with the average meal containing 740 calories, about 300 more than the standard (430 calories) for a single meal.
Story and her colleagues concluded that restaurants should support healthier choices for children by reformulating existing menu items and adding new healthier items, posting calories on menus, and setting nutrition standards for marketing to children.
Read more on topics like this among Latinos here from Salud America!, which is led by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.
Hispanic and Latino youth face unique issues when it comes to the obesity epidemic.
Among the concerns is that food and beverage companies appear to aggressively market to Hispanic youth. Examples include a recent report that many fast-food companies target Hispanic kids via Spanish-language TV and radio, and companies like McDonald’s “meencanta.com” website use Internet gaming to target Hispanics.
That’s why PreventObesity.net is partnering with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to offer a webinar look at this trend, specifically studying how proposed food marketing principles recently unveiled by the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies could affect Hispanic youth.
The free webinar at 2 p.m. EST July 7, “Food Marketing for the Consquences for Latino Children and Youth,” will provide an overview of the principles, a look at how marketers target Spanish-speaking kids and the ways in which the principles might affect how companies will market to them.
Sign up here for the Webinar.
Children as young as age 2 are seeing more fast food ads than ever, and restaurants rarely offer healthy kids’ meal choices, according to a new study by Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.
The new evaluation, the most comprehensive study of fast food nutrition and marketing ever conducted, studied marketing efforts of 12 of the nation’s largest fast food chains, and examined the calories, fat, sugar and sodium in more than 3,000 kids’ meal combinations and menu items. The study is being presented today at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting.
Some alarming findings include:
- Out of 3,039 possible kids’ meal combinations, only 12 meet the researchers’ nutrition criteria for preschoolers. Only 15 meet nutrition criteria for older children.
- At least 30% of the calories in menu items purchased by children and teens are from sugar/fat.
- Most fast food restaurants have at least one healthy side dish and beverage option for a kids’ meal, but the healthy options are rarely offered as the default.
- Even though McDonald’s and Burger King show only healthy sides and beverages in child-targeted ads, the restaurants automatically serve french fries with kids’ meals at least 86% of the time.
Companies also target Hispanic and African American youth.
Hispanic preschoolers see 290 Spanish-language fast food TV ads each year. McDonald’s is responsible for 25% of young people’s exposure to Spanish-language fast food advertising.
“Our results show that the fast food industry’s promises to market less unhealthy food to young people are not enough,” said study co-author Kelly Brownell, Ph.D., director and co-founder of the Rudd Center. “If they truly wish to be considered partners in public health, fast food restaurants need to drastically reduce the total amount of marketing that children and teens see for fast food and the iconic brands that sell it.”