A new study shows that the amount of fast food that children eat at the end of primary school would impact academic progress assessed three years later
Eating too often fast food is not only bad for the waistline. In a study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, the researchers show that children who frequently eat fast food at the end of primary school, are less academic progress -evaluate three years after college by reading tests, science and math – than those who never eat at fast food
Scientific studies are often interested in the relationship between eating habits and obesity among young people. But food can affect the development of children to other levels, including academic success. Consumption of fast food especially is of interest to researchers because it has increased in recent decades. Children who consume more fast food ingest more calories, fats (trans and heated), carbohydrates with high glycemic index and added sugars than children who do not consume. This type of diet is also low in nutrients, such as iron, vitamin C, for example, and children who eat a lot of fast food are at risk of not getting enough of these nutrients to grow optimally.
Here, the researchers used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, a study concerning 11 740 students who were in kindergarten during the 1998-1999 school year. They conducted tests in reading / literacy, mathematics and science in the first place when they were in CM2 class (in 2004) and 4th class in college (in 2007). In CM2 class, students also answered a food questionnaire to assess their consumption of fast food the week before testing.
Among students, 29% had not eaten fast food in the week preceding the survey, 10% had used it daily, 10% 4-6 times a week and just over half of the children ( 52%) had consumed from fast food 1 to 3 times per week.
“Students who eat most often at fast-food (daily or 4-6 times a week) had an increase in their score to less tests of about 20% compared to those who do not eat at fast- food “Purtell said Kelly, author of the study. And these results remained true after taking account of other factors-such as physical activity, time spend watching TV, the other foods consumed, socioeconomic status of the family, the residential area school- and which could have explained why those who consume more fast food had lower test scores.
Children who ate at fast food 1-3 times a week rose less than those who never ate only in mathematics.
“We went as far as to monitor and take into account the known factors that could influence the results of these tests students’ say the authors.
“There is much evidence that the fast-food consumption is linked to childhood obesity. But the problems do not end there. Too much fast food could also affect student achievement in the classroom. ”
“We are not saying that parents never take their children to fast food. But these results suggest that the consumption of this type of food should be limited, “said Dr. Purtell.
Moreover, the authors point out that this study can not prove that eating fast food has led to lower academic progress in heavy users of this type of food but the authors believe that it partly explains the differences obtained in educational achievement.
A high intake of unhealthy food does not provide the body with the necessary nutrients, such as iron involved in cognitive development. A diet high in trans fats, greases degradtion products (related to heating) and sugar also affect short-term memory and learning process.