School test scores influenced by fast food consumption.

fastA study published in the journal clinical pediatrics has specified that children who consume fast foods perform less in reading, math and science and have lower test scores.

“There’s a lot of evidence that fast- is linked to , but the problems don’t end there,” said Kelly Purtell, lead author of the study and of human sciences at The . “Relying too much on fast could hurt how well children do in the classroom.”

The analyzed data from 11,740 students and they were tested in reading/literacy, mathematics and science in both fifth and eighth grades. They also completed a questionnaire in fifth grade. “Fast- was quite high in these students,” Purtell said.

The statistics revealed that less than a third (29 percent) of the children did not have any fast during the week before they completed the questionnaire. Ten percent reported having fast every day while another 10 percent ate it four to six times a week. Slightly more than half of the children ate fast one to three times in the previous week.

In general children who consumed fast four to six times per week or every day showed significantly lower gains in all three achievement areas compared to children who did not eat any fast the week before the survey. Children who ate fast just one to three times a week had lower academic growth compared to non-eaters in only one subject, math.

“We’re not saying that parents should never feed their children fast , but these results suggest fast- should be limited as much as possible,” said Purtell.

The researchers speculate that diets high in fat and sugar impact on immediate memory and learning processes, as demonstrated by previous studies.


K. M. Purtell, E. T. Gershoff. Fast and Academic Growth in Late Childhood. Clinical Pediatrics, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0009922814561742

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