Most fast food restaurants are serving obesity to children. It is no surprise that the National Restaurant Association declared that 91 percent of kids’ meals at America’s major chains do not even meet the nutritional standards of the industry lobbying group’s Kids LiveWell program.
To meet the Center for Science in the Public Interest nutrition criteria, kids’ meals must not exceed 430 calories, more than 35 percent of calories from fat, or more than 10 percent of calories from saturated plus trans fat. Meals cannot have more than 35 percent added sugars by weight nor more than 770 milligrams of sodium. The criteria require meals to make a positive nutritional contribution either by providing at least half a serving of fruit or vegetable, including an item that is 51 percent or more whole grain, or including specified levels of vitamins or fiber. The criteria exclude sugar drinks in favor of water, juice, or low-fat milk. The National Restaurant Association standards are quite similar, though they allow more calories.
Of course, we know obesity is about more than just the food we eat, but it would be great if chain restaurants were a little more socially conscious.
The silver lining in the National Restaurant Association Report is that all eight of Subway restaurants’ Fresh Fit for Kids meal combinations met CSPI’s nutrition criteria. Subway is the only restaurant chain that does not offer sugar drinks as an option with its kids’ meals, instead including low-fat milk or bottled water along with apple slices with all of its kid-sized subs.
For more information and ways YOu can take action, visit the CENTER FOR SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST