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Study: Fast Food + Nearby Schools = Fat Kids

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

Middle and high school students who go to school just a short walk from a fast-food restaurant eat fewer fruit and vegetables, drink more soda and are more likely to be obese than students at other schools.

The study, conducted by researchers at Azusa Pacific University in California and appears in the American Journal of Public Health, involved more than 500,000 adolescents in California.

We’ve basically discovered that kids who are going to a school that is near a fast-food restaurant have a higher chance of being overweight and obese than kids who are at a school that is not near a fast-food restaurant,” said researcher Brennan Davis.

The researchers said it is not yet clear whether their results apply to other parts of the United States and this should be studied further. But their study adds to prior research showing that fast-food restaurants tend to be clustered near schools.

“We are actually making a connection between fast food proximity to schools and obesity,” Davis said in a phone interview of the Reuters news organization. “Students who were exposed to nearby fast food have a higher level of body mass index, they weigh more. They are more likely to be overweight and obese.”

U.S. obesity rates have tripled since 1980, although they leveled off this decade. The government says 32 percent of U.S. children are overweight and 16 percent are obese.

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