Health: How Healthy Are Fast Food Kids’ Meals?
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By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Kids’ meals get a failing grade from the food police.
A consumer watchdog organization that reviewed thousands of meals for children says 97 percent of kids’ meals didn’t meet nutritional standards from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
They might be quick and easy, but most kids’ meals at the popular chains are unhealthy, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, or CSPI. It analyzed almost 3,500 meals for children from 41 top restaurants.
“The meals flunked across the board. Most were too high in calories, too high in saturated fat and sodium, whole grains were very rare,” said Margot Wootan, Director of Nutrition Policy with CSPI.
More than half of the restaurants in the study didn’t have a single kids’ meal deemed healthy based on standards set by a panel of nutrition experts.
“It’s as if chain restaurants haven’t heard that there’s a childhood obesity epidemic. They’re still serving up burgers, fries, sugary drink,” said Wootan.
The worst offender had 1,200 calories and 2,300 milligrams of sodium.
“Kids are eating a tremendous amount of their calories, they’re getting a tremendous amount of their nutrition from fast food restaurants, and it’s a major problem,” said Keri Glassman, a registered dietitian.
The National Restaurant Association says that some restaurants are offering healthy alternatives through a voluntary program called Kids Eat Well. In a statement issued to CBS News, they say, “Participating restaurants offer and promote healthful meals for children that focus on increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy, while limiting unhealthful fats, sugars and sodium.”
Subway was the only chain that received a passing grade from the food police, which said that 100 percent of their kids’ meals met nutritional standards. And there’s no soda on the Subway menu.
For more on the CSPI Kid Fast Food Meal Report, visit: http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/cspi-kids-meals-2013.pdf