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Kids eat nearly half their daily calorie allowance in one fast-food meal

24 September 2009 by
Kids eat nearly half their daily calorie allowance in one fast-food meal

Children who visit fast-food chains are regularly consuming almost half their recommended daily calories in a single meal, according to new research by Which?](http://www.which.magazine.co.uk) magazine.

On their last visit to a fast food restaurant the survey found that children had consumed 45% of their recommended daily allowance: 947 calories on average in Burger King; 912 at KFC; and 868 at McDonald's.

One in four children said they visited a fast food chain once a week or more, according to research conducted as part of the Consumers International survey of fast-food marketing.

A quarter of those said they visited for a snack but actually ate a whole meal containing three items (around 585 calories); added to their usual breakfast, lunch and dinner, it's likely they would consume more calories, fat, salt and sugar than is recommended.

Fast-food chains have reduced the fat, salt and sugar in many foods, and most items in their children's meals are now rated ‘green' or ‘amber' under the traffic light labelling system.

While healthy options like fruit, vegetables and water are also available, a third of older children said they choose ‘adult' options. The lack of nutrition labelling at most outlets means they may not know how much they're eating.

Burger King, KFC, McDonald's are among six fast food chains to sign up to the Food Standards Agency's commitment to providing healthier meals outside the home.

One branch of Burger King has been involved in the pilot of nutritional labelling which shows calorie information on menu boards.

For advice on ensuring children eat a healthy diet, visit the Which?Kids Food Campaign web pages.

FSA admits restaurant menu labelling could become compulsory >>

Opinions split over calories-on-menus scheme >>

FSA signs up six fast-food chains for healthier meals programme >>

By Janie Stamford

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