Fast food isn’t only a dumb choice environmentally, it can actually harm kids’ test scores, too. Factory-farmed meat? All that packaging? No thanks. But if living a greener life isn’t a good enough reason for you and your family to avoid the junk, perhaps this is: kids who regularly eat fast food score lower on tests. Some kids had their test scored drop on literacy and mathematical tests by 16 percent compared to the average.
Kerri Tobin, who oversaw the research, said,
It is possible that the types of food served at fast food restaurants cause cognitive difficulties that result in lower test scores.
Wow. Just can’t picture Mickey D’s using that in a marketing campaign anytime soon. But the corporate giant isn’t the only culprit…
Let’s think about what schools feed our children. At this rural middle school, it’s deep-fried cheese or chicken fingers with ranch dipping sauce. Veggie option? An iceberg lettuce salad, also with ranch. Mmmm…Fat-tastic! I’m surprised deep-fried Twinkies don’t show up as dessert.
Here’s how the study went. It was performed by Vanderbilt University, where researchers examined the diets and test performance of 5,500 kids aged 10 and 11. Half of those kids had eaten fast food 3 times during the previous week. (That in itself is a WTF?! for me. “No, doctor, I have no idea why my child is obese!”) When testing the kiddos, researchers adjusted for other contributing factors such as parental income, race, and students’ weight. From the Telegraph:
In total, children scored between 58 and 181 points in the reading tests, gaining an average score of 141.5. But after taking other factors into account, pupils who ate fast food between four and six times a week scored almost seven points below average. Children snacking once a day fell 16 points, while pupils indulging three times a day dropped by 19 points.
The more the kids ate fast food, the lower the test scores. Perhaps our public schools need to avoid solely focusing on their standardized tests, and instead outreach to families to teach healthy eating. Because obese and unintelligent is hardly a legacy our children deserve.
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