A new study has found that fast food may impede the ability to learn, as well as cause obesity and related issues.
It’s well known that children are at an increased risk of obesity when they eat fast food on a regular basis. Many restaurants still contain a lot of calories, despite promises to change ingredients. Connections between fast food, lack of a balanced diet, and childhood obesity and diabetes are well documented.
The most recent study found that among children who frequently ate fast food, the results of tests in reading, literacy, math, and science were poor. The findings held even after allowing for other foods, amount of TV they watched, socio-economic background, and neighborhood. Increased fast food consumption is linked to poverty.
“We went as far as we could to control four and take into account all the known factors that could be involved in how well children did on these tests,” said Kelly Purtell, lead author of the study and assistant professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University, in a press release.
The data was drawn from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, which included 11,700 students attending kindergarten in the 1998-1999 school year. Students were tested in fifth grade and completed a questionnaire regarding ther food habits. They took subsequent tests in eighth grade.
The study did not prove causality, but researchers gave the lack or iron and other nutrients as a possible reason for lower test scores among children who ate fast food every day.