CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reveals fast-food consumption by children is just part of the childhood obesity epidemic.
The study by Barry Popkin, Professor of nutrition at UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health looked at the dietary intake of 4,466 children between the ages of 2 and 18. Popkin found that the issue boils down to poor-all-day long dietary habits that start at a child's home.
In a news release, Popkin stated, "Eating fast foods is just one behavior that results from those bad habits. Just because children who eat more fast food are the most likely to become obese does not prove that calories from fast foods bear the brunt of the blame."
According to the study, children form a dietary pattern at an early age learned by parents and caregivers. But the pattern often includes few fruits and vegetables, high amounts of processed food, and sugary drinks. Popkin also reveals these food choices are carried over to school and what's offered on the lunch menu for children.
Popkin also stated, "Children who rely on fast foods may tend to have parents who do not have the means, desire, or time to purchase or prepare healthy foods at home. This is really what is driving children's obesity and what needs to be addressed in any solution."