Over a third of children and adolescents are eating fast food on a given day, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Previous research suggests that fast food intake is associated with higher calorie intake and poorer diet quality, which may increase their risk of weight gain. In adults, fast food intake is associated with weight gain according to a 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. And adults with excess body fat are at increased risk for many common cancers, including post-menopausal breast, colorectal and liver.
Using data from the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the report found that 34 percent of 2 to 19 year olds are eating fast food on any given day. And about one of ten kids is getting a quarter to 40 percent of their calories from fast foods.
Percentage of children and adolescents aged 2–19 years who consumed fast food on a given day, by calories consumed: United States, 2011–2012
If you spot calorie information on your restaurant menu, does it help you decide what to order?
For about six of every ten adults living in select states, that calorie information does help them decide what to order. At least sometimes, that is, with about one of every ten diners using that nutrition information for every purchase, according to a new government survey.
Sometimes you may just need the convenience of a fast food restaurant. As a study highlighted in today’s Cancer Research Update points out, you’ll be faced with more choices than ever. One of the study’s findings was that consumers had over 50 percent more menu items in 2010 to choose from compared to 14 years earlier.
So if you’re watching your calories to maintain a healthy weight – which reduces your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases – here are eight tips to help you quickly navigate the abundance of options. In just one visit, it’s not hard to save 500 calories or more in one visit, while making your meal more nutritious.
1. Avoid entrees that top the list in calories and fat Estimated Calories Saved: 350-500
McDonald’s: Order a cheeseburger (300 calories, 12 g fat) instead of the Cheddar Bacon Onion Third Pounder (790 calories, 41 grams of fat)