A new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine has shown a dangerous trend for those who eat fast food. The study looked at the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 4,717 children between the ages of 2-11, and 4,699 teenagers between the ages of 12-19.
The researchers, Lisa Powell and Binh T. Nguyen from the University of Illinois at Chicago, looked at the eating habits of the participants. They analysed food nutrition from two days- one that was mainly fast food based, and one where they ate homemade meals.
The results for the teen group were that they ate 309 extra calories in their fast food days when compared to homemade food days. They found that the children did not compensate for the extra calories in one meal across the whole day. They also found that they drank double the soda and less milk.
Previously it was thought that eating one fast food meal with higher calories in a day would mean you would naturally eat less calories in other meals to make up for the difference. This was found to be not true and the extra calories are just added on top.
Sara Bleich, associate professor of health policy at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, commented on the study results. “What is more notable about this paper is not its finding but rather its policy significance.” She adds that it will help policymakers address the obesity epidemic.