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childhood fast food

Just How Much Fast Food Are Children Eating?

A few weeks ago the Center for Disease Control released some alarming statistics about the United States and obesity (see: we’re still getting fatter Now there’s even more alarming information coming out suggesting a large percentage of American Children are eating a good percentage of their daily calories from fast food.

How Much Fast Food Are American Children Eating?

2014 obesity prevalence

A few weeks ago the CDC released data showing an increase in obesity throughout the United States – some states holding even while many states showing an increase in obesity – obesity being defined as having a body mass index of thirty or greater. Something clearly isn’t working.

The CDC also recently released some interesting information in regards to children and how they get their calories.

Amazing Statistics About Children and Fast Food

  • Every day 34.3% of children and teenagers between the ages of 2-19 eat fast food
  • 12.1% of these young people get over 40% of their calories each day from fast food
  • Another 10.7% of them will get between 25%-40% of their daily calories from fast food
  • Fast food consumption is higher in teenagers ages 12-19
  • Gender, race, ethnicity, weight status, or family income made no significant statistical difference in the amount of fast food consumed

How Accurate Is The Data About Children and Fast Food?

While the figures are a little alarming there is some question as to how accurate the data is. The CDC gathered its data as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The NHANES is a snapshot of a small portion of the United States population. Data was collected through in-person interviews through a twenty-four hour food diary recall. Meaning the information collected was based purely off of memory. Human error can always play a factor in the accuracy of results when it comes to a twenty-four hour food recall. There’s also the possibility for omission as well. Fast food was also defined as, “restaurant fast food or pizza.” Some people could have different definitions of fast food. Also, the population of children/parents surveyed was 3100 people. The population of the United States is about 321 million people. So the population represented by the survey is about 0.00001% of the United States population. Just something to think about.


1. Fryar, C., Ogden, C., Vikraman, S. “Caloric Data From Fast Food Among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 2011-2012.” September 2015. Web. 25 September 2015.



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