A lower percentage of children are eating "fast food" on any given day, and calories consumed by children from those types of burger, pizza and chicken restaurants also dropped, according to a new study.
The percentage of children consuming fast food on a given day dropped from 38.8 percent in 2003-2004 to 32.6 percent in 2009-2010.
Colin D. Rehm, Ph.D., M.P.H., formerly of the University of Washington, Seattle, now of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, Boston, and Adam Drewnowski, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, Seattle, analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003 to 2010 to examine trends in children's calorie consumption by fast food restaurant type, according to background information in the research letter.
The authors also found calorie intake from burger, pizza and chicken fast food restaurant decreased, while calories consumed from Mexican and sandwich fast food restaurants remained constant. While the proportion of children eating at burger restaurants remained stable, there was a modest drop seen for chicken restaurants.
A decrease in calories consumed at pizza restaurants may have been driven in part by a decrease in the number of consumers because a decline in pizza sales from 2003 to 2010 has been noted by industry sources, according to the study. While 12.2 percent of children obtained food and beverages from pizza restaurants in 2003-2004, that number dropped to 6.4 percent in 2009-2010.
"No fast food market segment experienced a significant increase in energy [calories] during the 8-year study," the study concludes.
JAMA Pediatr. Published online March 30, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.38. Top image: Shutterstock