For years studies have warned Americans that too much fast food can cause children to become obese, but a new study revealed that the unhealthy meals could also be detrimental to a child’s performance in school.
The fast food industry has remained one of the most profitable industries in America despite constant warnings that it is extremely unhealthy and is one of the culprits behind the country’s high obesity rates.
A new study, however, could give some families the extra push they need to wean their children off the quick, greasy meals.
A study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics suggests that there is a direct correlation between how frequently a child eats fast food and how likely they are to struggle in the classroom.
The study didn’t dig deep enough to confirm that the fast food was the cause of the poor grades, but it did find that students who ate fast food frequently seemed to perform worse than those who reportedly didn’t eat fast food very often.
The study involved more than 11,000 students who were tested for proficiency in core subjects like science and math in the fifth grade.
The students were then required to take another proficiency test once they reached the eighth grade.
In addition to taking the tests, they had to fill out food consumption questionnaires about how much fast food they ate and how frequently they ate it.
The results are certainly enough to have some parents skipping the daily trip to McDonald’s for the Happy Meal.
Students who ate fast food frequently had significantly lower scores on the second proficiency test, with some students’ scores coming in at a staggering 20 percent lower than the students who didn’t each much fast food.
The study’s lead author and human sciences assistant professor from Ohio State University, Kelly Purtell, believes fast food is to blame.
“There’s a lot of evidence that fast-food consumption is linked to childhood obesity, but the problems don’t end there,” she wrote after analyzing the study results. “Relying too much on fast food could hurt how well children do in the classroom.”
Of course, that might not be the complete story.
Some argue that these parents often don’t have time to cook and don’t find the time to sit down with their children at a dinner table. This could limit the child’s daily interaction with the parent.
Others believe that parents who have to snag fast food for their kid on a daily basis are doing so because it’s all they can afford. That, in many cases, is the most telling trend of all.
If children are growing up in low-income households, there is an entirely different set of circumstances and challenges they could be facing that are not connected to the fast food at all.
These issues could be the real cause of poor performances in school.
Study authors claim they accounted for such factors, but there is no way to fully control the lifestyle a child is subjected to based on their socioeconomic status.
Either way, there are other studies from the past that have managed to prove that sugary, fatty diets could disrupt immediate processes associated with learning and memory.
Needless to say, most fast food options would fit that bill.