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The Fatty Feeding Habits of Teens

If you're a parent and you're not worried about how the obesity epidemic may be affecting your kids and their health, you're probably not paying a whole lot of attention to their eating habits either. According to a new study, your kids could be giving you a glimpse of what and how they eat when you're not around based on their habits at more formal, "sit-down" restaurants.

Researchers gave about 100 children ranging in age from 11-18 menus from 10 national restaurant chains, so they could pick out the selections they'd probably order and estimated how much they'd eat of each choice.

The stunning feature of the survey: Kids tended to choose less fatty foods at fast-food restaurants like Taco Bell or McDonald's than in more formal settings, like California Pizza Kitchen, Chili's and Outback Steakhouse (the bottom three on the list).

The "top" five restaurants, based on the lowest number of fat grams consumed, included:

  • Taco Bell
  • Panda Express
  • Wendy's
  • McDonald's
  • Red Lobster

The sharply rising numbers associated with the obesity epidemic alone should be enough to scare you away from restaurants of all kinds. Obesity rates have tripled among kids ages 6-11 and doubled for teens ages 12-19.

More than 15 percent of kids are overweight, and they don't "outgrow" it either: Overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of weighing too much as adults. Besides, if they see their parents doing it too...

Scientists collect data that prove beyond a doubt fast-food restaurants are marketing bad food to kids and adults, but I find they're still dancing around the big issue: Fast food tastes good and is very affordable but the cost of eating badly will affect you in so many ways in the long term. You can only fool your body for so long.

I'm certain if you live on a diet of fast-food diet, you'll accelerate the aging process and compromise your health severely. That doesn't even take into account the fact that the overwhelming majority of foods you buy at fast-food restaurants are processed. How in the world can a person be healthy if they eat that much processed food?

USA Today October 12, 2004

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