Study: Kids Eat Less Junk Food

New findings show that children and parents are increasingly becoming more conscious eaters. Kids are eating less fast food and calories than they did a couple of years ago, according to a new study from The Journal of the American Medical Association. 

Between 2009-2010, 33 percent of U.S. kids from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey ate from fast food restaurants, a 6 percent drop from 2003. The new study also found a decrease in calorie intake particularly from burger, chicken, and especially pizza fast food restaurants. The study found that children’s visits to pizza restaurants were reduced while people ate lesser calories in burger restaurants.

"About half of this drop was due to decreases in calories from fast food," told Colin Rehm, coauthor of the study and postdoctoral research fellow at Tuft University, to Reuters

The study, however, only focuses on calories, which does not give a comprehensive look at the nutritional value of foods. Researchers such as Katherine W. Bauer of the Center for Obesity Research told Reuters that the study itself does not necessarily show that children are making healthier choices

“If children are substituting the calories from fast food for the same number of calories and quality of food from another type of restaurant, then they're no better off,” said Bauer. 

Here are some easy ways children and parents can eat more healthily at home instead: 

  • In response to a New York Times Op-Ed piece on junk food, a reader suggested expanding the frozen section to encourage shoppers to buy more frozen fruits and vegetables. Compared to fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen food are less perishable, requires less prep time, and they’re still nutritious. 
  • The Department of Health and Human Services launched the Million Hearts campaign in hopes of preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Check out their website for low-sodium meal ideas and recipes. 
  • Create your own healthy lunch recipes at home for a chance to eat at the White House with Mrs. Obama!