Does stopping by a fast food restaurant a few times a week with your kids really make a difference in their health? A major long-term study has found a strong association between eating fast food more than twice a week and the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes in teens and young adults.
CARDIA (The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study) followed more than 3000 youth in Birmingham, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Oakland for 15 years. An analysis of their fast food intake was published in the January 1, 2005 Lancet.
Even after adjusting for other lifestyle factors such as physical activity and television viewing, the more often people ate fast food, the more their weight crept up over the years and the worse their body’s ability to respond to insulin.
All other things being equal, those who ate fast food more than twice a week gained an extra 10 pounds and had a two-fold increase in insulin resistance compared to their peers.
Meals together at home are great for families for many reasons. When eating out is in cards, be on the lookout for delicious, healthy options. Substituting fruit for French fries, low fat milk for sugary soda are little steps that can add up in a big way over time.
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