NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The results of a new fast food study may be a little tough to swallow for some parents.
According to a report released Monday by Yale University , the average preschooler is seeing 21 percent more fast food ads than in 2003 and mostly for unhealthy options.
The report found that out of more than 3,000 kids' meal combinations from 12 top restaurant chains, only 12 met the nutritional guidelines for preschoolers.
"The worst meal was at Dairy Queen," said Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives at the Yale center, and the lead study author. "It was a cheeseburger, french fries, a sugar sweetened soft drink and a chocolate Dilly Bar, which totaled 973 calories."
The No. 2 culprit: KFC's popcorn chicken kids meal, served with a biscuit, soda and a side of string cheese – totaling 840 calories.
Of the 12 meals that made the grade, Harris said it was Subway's "Veggie Delite," paired with apple slices and 100-percent juice that took the award for healthiest kids meal at 285 calories. Burger King's macaroni and cheese meal with apple slices and fat-free milk came in at 285 calories as well.
Researchers say the fast food industry spent $4.2 billion on advertising in 2009.
The National Restaurant Association, which represents the industry, hasn't responded to the study so far.
Copyright (c) 2010 The E. W. Scripps Company
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