According to Pew Research Center, America has 160,000 fast food restaurants, which serve 50 million people each day, and all those people, generate 110 billion in annual revenue.
That’s a lot of money.
But we’re not talking about economics or budgetary responsibility. We’re talking about health and how fast food consumption may be affecting your child’s health.
The study, published in the journal Osteoporosis International by researchers from the UK, found that neighborhoods with more fast food restaurants correlated to lower bone mineral density in newborns.
The converse was also true. In neighborhoods with access to health-oriented grocery stores, children had a higher bone mineral density at age 4 and 6 as opposed to their counterparts in the other neighborhoods.
Researchers pointed out that more studies will need to be completed in order to confirm the findings of this study.
So why does this matter?
In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that gaining bone mass early in life is considered the “most important modifiable determinant of lifelong skeletal health.”
Dr. Scott Ferry, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Rockford Orthopedic, stressed the importance of exercise in young children. He said, “Children that exercise regularly have higher peak bone masses than those who do not regularly exercise. After age 30, we all start to lose bone mass, so it is critical to maximize your bone mass during childhood and adolescence.”
He went on to point out the most important factors for maximizing bone mass:
- A balanced diet
- Regular exercise
It can be extremely difficult to make dinner at home (and a healthy one no less), but our children will benefit from skipping the fast option and eating a healthy, bone-mass-maximizing meal at home.