Kids on frequent diet of fast-food at risk for heart disease, diabetes

By  | 

LONDON (CBS) Researchers in Britain say kids who regularly eat fast-food could be on the fast-track to getting heart diease and diabetes when they're older.

Ateeka Khwaja usually cooks at home for her three-year-old son, Aqoob. But when her schedule's tight, they'll go somewhere fast to eat. "Right now, I'm at a fried chicken place. I probably bring him here twice a month," she said. "I don't want him to eat too much takeaway."

As families get busier, more parents are opting for take-out or home deliveries. But new research published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood finds children who "frequently" eat fast food could be at a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes as they get older.

"We found that children that reported eating takeaway meals regularly had higher fat, higher cholesterol, and higher LDL cholesterol... As well as poorer diets generally," said Angie Donin, the study's author.

Researchers also found children may be missing out on vitamins and minerals. The study included 2,000 ethnically-diverse children from mostly lower-income areas. Nearly a third of kids, ages 9 and 10 reported having fast food at least once a week. That number jumped to 50-percent with teenagers.

Reporter Teri Okita: Do you think the problem's going to get any better because we're relying more and more on fast-food?
Angie Donin: I don't think there's any signs of change in eating behaviors.

Khwaja says she knows the dangers of too much fast food and is even starting to teach her son how to cook and bake healthy foods at home.