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Fast Food: Another Reason to Keep Kids Away From It

The Short of It

We know fast food isn't exactly the best choice for our kids' waistlines. But now a new study says French fries and chicken nuggets cause children to do worse in school.

The Lowdown

If you're reading this in line at the drive-thru, you may want to turn around. Researchers claim kiddos who regularly chow down on Happy Meals and the like pull lower test scores than their peers who eat healthier meals.

"Our findings provide evidence that eating fast food is linked to...poorer academic outcomes," says lead researcher Kelly Purtell of The Ohio State University.

The study, which was published in "Clinical Pediatrics," looked at 8,500 American 10-year-olds and their consumption of quick serve, fried meals. Their academic test scores were then evaluated three years later.

Alarmingly, kids who dined on fast food daily pulled average science scores of 79, while kids who didn't eat fast food scored 83. Reading and math scores were also lower for the French fry set.

The Upshot

Parents, keep in mind this study looked at children who ate McDonald's, Burger King and other similar meals on a daily basis. So if you grab cheeseburgers and fries once in while for your family, don't worry too much!

But the fact that kids who eat unhealthy, fried meals aren't only at risk for obesity but also poorer test scores, only underscores how important it is to feed our families as many healthy, fresh meals as possible.

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