Researchers at Ohio State University have drawn links between fast food consumption and lower test scores among children. Meanwhile, a less surprising finding reveals that kids who consume a lot of fast food are more likely to be obese.
The study, which was carried out by Ohio State University assistant professor Dr. Katy Purtell, involved the examination of data associated with more than 11,700 elementary school students. Specifically, information was collected about the students in 1998-99, when the kids were in kindergarten, and again when the children had reached grade five.
The study revealed a number of alarming issues. First, less than one in three grade five students reported not eating fast food shortly before the studied was carried out. Second, one in ten students reported eating fast food every single day, while another ten per cent reported eating this food between four and six times each week.
Finally, and most alarming, math, reading, and science test scores were up to 20 per cent lower among the students who consumed fast food four times a week or more.
Purtell’s team accounted for other factors that may lower test scores, including exercise, TV viewing time, family income, and neighborhood characteristics.
Purtell says the study provides further evidence that we need to seriously consider the health impact of consuming too much fast food.
“There’s a lot of evidence that fast-food consumption is linked to childhood obesity, but the problems don’t end there,” Purtell said. “Relying too much on fast food could hurt how well children do in the classroom.”
The report, which has since been published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, goes on to suggest that fast-food consumption “should be limited as much as possible.”