Are restaurant children’s meals a cause of childhood obesity in the United States?

Are restaurant children’s meals a cause of childhood obesity in the United States?

How many calories is that kids meal at the local Appleby’s restaurant? Chances are that as a parent you have no idea, but your kids who may have a limited menu based on their likes and dislikes (some can be quite difficult) may only eat bad carbohydrates with little nutrition. The silver lining is that many of those foods now have calorie counts next to them on the menu which may help you in choosing which foods to order for your childs meal. If you knew that the fries and chicken nuggets were 1200 calories, would you allow your 6 year old to order it even though it was more than 50% of their caloric needs for the day?

The NY Times explores..

Most Children’s Meals at Large Restaurant Chains Are Still Unhealthy, a Study Finds

Published: March 28, 2013

A new study of the nutritional quality of meals for children on the menus of the nation’s largest chain restaurants has found that 91 percent do not even meet the standards set by the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program.

An even larger percentage — 97 percent of restaurant children’s meals — failed to meet stricter standards developed by a panel of nutrition and health experts for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the nonprofit research and advocacy group that commissioned the study.

“These were pretty dismal results,” said Margo G. Wootan, its director of nutrition policy.

The center did a similar study in 2008, which found that 99 percent of restaurant meals offered for children did not meet the standards. Ms. Wootan said she had expected a more significant improvement, particularly since many restaurant chains have been promoting their healthier options for youngsters.

“It’s one thing if they had gone from 99 percent unhealthy to 50-50,” she said. “But to go from 1 percent of kids’ meals being healthy to 3 percent over four years — it’s as if the restaurant industry hasn’t heard there is an obesity epidemic in this country.”

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