Children Who Eat Fast Food Associated With Lower Test Scores


Although it’s a well-known fact that fast food has a negative impact on a child’s health and waistline, researchers recently concluded that it also has a negative effect on their test scores.

Students who consumed more fast food in fifth grade were more likely to have low scores in math, reading and science in eight grade, according to professor Kelly Purtell of Ohio State University. Researchers came to the conclusion after measuring the academic ability of fifth students to those in eight grade. It included 11,740 students who were tested in all subjects, and who were also asked to complete a survey regarding fast food consumption.

“Our findings suggest there is a link between the food children eat and how they are learning in school, with worse food inputs linked with worse achievement gains,” Elizabeth Gershoff, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

The study reported that less than one third of children did not eat fast food during the week. Ten percent reported that they ate fast food every day and another 10 percent reported that they ate it four to six times per week. More than half of the children surveyed reported eating fast food one to three times every week.

“Our results showed that fast food consumption, especially frequent consumption, predicted lower academic growth in all three subjects,” Purtell said.

Purtell defined “frequent” consumption as eating fast food more than four times every week. She noted that students who ate the most fast food had score gains that were 20 percent lower than non-fast-food-eaters.

The study also explored the amount of time children spent exercising each day, the amount of TV they watched, other foods they are and the family’s socioeconomic status. Despite taking each of these factors into account, children were most influenced by their consumption of fast food, the researchers concluded.

Source: The Lantern / Photo Credit: Flickr


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