Background: American adults consume 11.3% of total daily calories from foods and beverages from fast food restaurants. The contribution of different types of fast food restaurants to the diets of US children is unknown.
Objective: To estimate the consumption of energy, sodium, added sugars, and solid fats among US children ages 4-19 y by fast food restaurant type.
Methods: Analyses used the first 24-h recall for 12,378 children in the 2003-2010 cycles of the nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2003-2010). NHANES data identify foods by location of origin, including stores and fast food restaurants (FFR). A novel custom algorithm divided FFRs into 8 segments and assigned meals and snacks to each. These included burger, pizza, sandwich, Mexican, Asian, fish, and coffee/snack restaurants. The contribution of each restaurant type to intakes of energy and other dietary constituents was then assessed by age group (4-11 y and 12-19 y) and by race/ethnicity.
Results: Store-bought foods and beverages provided 64.8% of energy, 61.9% of sodium, 68.9% of added sugars, and 60.1% of solid fats. FFRs provided 14.1% of energy, 15.9% of sodium, 10.4% of added sugars and 17.9% of solid fats. Among FFR segments, burger restaurants provided 6.2% of total energy, 5.8% of sodium, 6.2% of added sugars, and 7.6% of solid fats. Less energy was provided by pizza (3.3%), sandwich (1.4%), Mexican (1.3%), and chicken restaurants (1.2%). Non-Hispanic black children obtained a greater proportion of their total energy (7.4%), sodium (7.1%), and solid fats (9.5%) from burger restaurants as compared to non-Hispanic white children (6.0% of energy, 5.5% of sodium, and 7.3% of solid fat).
Conclusions: These novel analyses, based on consumption data by fast food market segment, allow public health stakeholders to better monitor the effectiveness of industry efforts to promote healthier menu options.