Skip navigation


Fast Food and Childhood Obesity

January 24, 2014

Related MedlinePlus Pages



Fast food is to blame for rising rates of childhood obesity right? Maybe not!

New research suggests fast food consumption is not the only diet demon but rather a small part of a much bigger problem bad eating habits that begin at home at a young age.

The study used dietary data gathered from nearly 4,500 children between 2007 and 2010. All of the kids were 2 to 18 years of age. The data included questions on dietary intake and where food was purchased.

The researchers then determined which factors were most related to risk for obesity Here's how fast food ranked in overall diet.

  • 50% of the kids were classified as non-consumers.
  • 40% were low consumers, meaning they got 30% or less of their calories from fast food.
  • Just 10% were considered high consumers, those who got more than 30% of their calories from fast food.

The findings suggest that overall diet is more strongly linked to poor nutrition and obesity than fast food consumption though the researchers stress that reducing fast-food intake is important. About 1 in 3 American children is currently considered overweight or obese.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with news from today that can lead to healthy tomorrows.