Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Nutritional quality of food items on fast-food ‘kids’ menus’: comparisons across countries and companies

  • Erin Hobin (a1) (a2), Christine White (a3), Ye Li (a4) (a5), Maria Chiu (a1), Mary Fodor O'Brien (a1) and David Hammond (a2) (a3)...

Abstract

Objective

To compare energy (calories), total and saturated fats, and Na levels for ‘kids’ menu’ food items offered by four leading multinational fast-food chains across five countries.

Design

A content analysis was used to create a profile of the nutritional content of food items on kids’ menus available for lunch and dinner in four leading fast-food chains in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

Setting

Food items from kids’ menus were included from four fast-food companies: Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), McDonald's and Subway. These fast-food chains were selected because they are among the top ten largest multinational fast-food chains for sales in 2010, operate in high-income English-speaking countries, and have a specific section of their restaurant menus labelled ‘kids’ menus’.

Results

The results by country indicate that kids’ menu foods contain less energy (fewer calories) in restaurants in the USA and lower Na in restaurants in the UK. The results across companies suggest that kids’ menu foods offered at Subway restaurants are lower in total fat than food items offered at Burger King and KFC, and food items offered at KFC are lower in saturated fat than items offered at Burger King.

Conclusions

Although the reasons for the variation in the nutritional quality of foods on kids’ menus are not clear, it is likely that fast-food companies could substantially improve the nutritional quality of their kids’ menu food products, translating to large gains for population health.

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Nutritional quality of food items on fast-food ‘kids’ menus’: comparisons across countries and companies
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Nutritional quality of food items on fast-food ‘kids’ menus’: comparisons across countries and companies
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Nutritional quality of food items on fast-food ‘kids’ menus’: comparisons across countries and companies
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email Erin.Hobin@oahpp.ca

References

Hide All
1.Hooper, L, Summerbell, C, Higgins, Jet al. (2001) Dietary fat intake and prevention of cardiovascular disease: systematic review. BMJ 322, 757763.
2.Appel, L, Brands, M, Daniels, Set al. (2006) Dietary approaches to prevent and treat hypertension: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Hypertension 47, 296308.
3.Langlois, K, Garriguet, D & Findlay, L (2009) Diet composition and obesity among Canadian adults. Health Rep 20, issue 4, 1120.
4.Lim, S, Vos, T, Flaxman, Aet al. (2012) A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2010. Lancet 380, 22242260.
5.World Health Organization (2009) Global Health Risks: Mortality and Burden of Disease Attributable to Selected Major Risks. Geneva: WHO; available at http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/GlobalHealthRisks_report_full.pdf
6.Wang, Y & Lobstein, T (2006) Worldwide trends in childhood overweight and obesity. Int J Pediatr Obes 1, 1125.
7.Franks, P, Hanson, R, Knowler, Wet al. (2010) Childhood obesity, other cardiovascular risk factors, and premature death. N Engl J Med 462, 485493.
8.Herman, K, Craig, C, Gauvin, Let al. (2009) Tracking of obesity and physical activity from childhood to adulthood: the Physical Activity Longitudinal Study. Int J Pediatr Obes 4, 281288.
9.Veugelers, P & Fitzgerald, A (2005) Prevalence of and risk factors for childhood overweight and obesity. CMAJ 173, 607613.
10.Veugelers, P, Fitzgerald, A & Johnston, E (2005) Dietary intake and risk factors for poor diet quality among children in Nova Scotia. Can J Public Health 96, 212216.
11.Patrick, H & Nicklas, T (2005) A review of family and social determinants of children's eating patterns and diet quality. J Am Coll Nutr 24, 8392.
12.St-Onge, M, Keller, K & Heymsfield, S (2003) Changes in childhood food consumption patterns: a cause for concern in light of increasing body weight. Am J Clin Nutr 78, 10681073.
13.French, S, Harnack, L & Jeffery, R (2000) Fast-food restaurant use among women in the Pound of Prevention study: dietary, behavioural and demographic correlates. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 24, 13531359.
14.Kant, A & Graubard, B (2004) Eating out in America, 1987–2000: trends and nutritional correlates. Prev Med 38, 243249.
15.French, S, Story, M & Jeffery, R (2001) Environmental influences on eating and physical activity. Annu Rev Public Health 22, 309335.
16.Satia, J, Galanko, J & Siega-Riz, A (2004) Eating at fast-food restaurants is associated with dietary intake, demographic, psychosocial and behavioural factors among African Americans in North Carolina. Public Health Nutr 7, 10891096.
17.Schmidt, M, Affenito, S, Striegel-Moore, Ret al. (2005) Fast-food intake and diet quality in black and white girls: the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 159, 626631.
18.Pereira, M, Kartashov, A, Ebbeling, Cet al. (2005) Fast-food habits, weight gain, and insulin resistance (The CARDIA Study): 15-year prospective analysis. Lancet 365, 3642.
19.Thompson, O, Ballew, C, Resnicow, Ket al. (2004) Food purchased away from home as a predictor of change in BMI z-score among girls. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 28, 282289.
20.Brownell, KD (2004) Fast-food and obesity in children. Pediatrics 113, 132.
21.Powell, L, Chaloupka, F & Bao, Y (2007) The availability of fast-food and full-service restaurants in the United States: associations with neighbourhood characteristics. Am J Prev Med 33, Suppl. 4, S240S245.
22.French, S, Story, M & Jeffery, R (2001) Environmental influences on eating and physical activity. Annu Rev Public Health 22, 309335.
23.Bowman, S, Gortmaker, S, Ebbeling, Cet al. (2004) Effects of fast-food consumption on energy intake and diet quality among children in a national household survey. Pediatrics 113, 112118.
24.Lin, B, Guthrie, J & Frazao, E (1999) Away-from-Home Foods Increasingly Important to Quality of American Diet. Agriculture Information Bulletin no. AIB-749. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
25.Drewnowski, A & Rehm, C (2013) Energy intakes of US children and adults by food purchase location and by specific food source. Nutr J 12, 59.
26.Canadian Council of Food and Nutrition (2008) Tracking Nutrition Trends VII, August 2008. An Initiative of the Canadian Council of Food and Nutrition. http://www.cfdr.ca/Downloads/CCFN-docs/C1180---TNT-VII-FINAL-REPORT---full-report--Sept-1.aspx (accessed September 2013).
27.Markey, A & Watson, C (2011) Australia becomes fast food nation and moves to 11th position for spending on takeaway. news.com.au, 27 May 2011. http://www.news.com.au/national-old/obesity-levels-show-australia-is-the-chubby-country/story-e6frfkvr-1226064083008 (accessed September 2013).
28.Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board & Potato Council (2012) Foodservice Market Update – June 2012. http://www.potato.org.uk/sites/default/files/%5Bcurrent-page%3Aarg%3A%3F%5D/Foodservice%20Report%20June%202012.pdf (accessed September 2013).
29.Federal Trade Commission (2008) Marketing Food to Children and Adolescents: A Review of Industry Expenditures, Activities, and Self-regulation. http://www.ftc.gov/os/2008/07/P064504foodmktingreport.pdf (accessed September 2013).
30.O'Donnell, S, Hoerr, S, Mendoza, Jet al. (2008) Nutrient quality of fast food kids meals. Am J Clin Nutr 88, 13881395.
31.Public Law 111–148, 111th Congress (2010) Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Section 4205: Nutrition labeling of standard menu items at chain restaurants. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ148/pdf/PLAW-111publ148.pdf (accessed September 2013).
32.Food Standards Agency (2009) UK Salt Reduction Initiatives. http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/saltreductioninitiatives.pdf (accessed September 2013).
33.Food Standards Agency (2010) UK Burger King Restaurant Commitments. http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/hccbkjan2010.pdf (accessed September 2013).
34.McDonald's USA (2012) Nutrition Journey: A 2012 Progress Report. http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/content/dam/AboutMcDonalds/Newsroom/Electronic%20Press%20Kits/Nutrition%20EPK/McDonaldsNPR.pdf (accessed September 2013).
35.IBISWorld (2011) Global hotels and restaurants: G4621-GL Global fast food restaurants. In IBISWorld Global Industries Report. Santa Monica, CA: IBISWorld
36.He, F & MacGregor, G (2007) Dietary salt, high blood pressure and other harmful effects on health. In: Reducing Salt in Foods: Practical Strategies, pp. 1854 [D Kilcast and F Angus, editors]. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing.
37.Dunford, E, Webster, J, Woodward, Met al. (2012) The variability of reported salt levels in fast foods across six countries: opportunities for salt reduction. CMAJ 184, 10231028.
38.Bruemmer, B, Krieger, J, Saelens, Bet al. (2012) Energy, saturated fat, and sodium were lower in entrees at chain restaurants at 18 months compared with 6 months following the implementation of mandatory menu labeling regulation in King County, Washington. J Acad Nutr Diet 112, 11691176.
39.Wu, H (2012) What's on the menu? Evaluating the food environment in restaurants. http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/rgs_dissertations/2012/RAND_RGSD304.pdf (accessed September 2013).
40.Food Standards Agency (2009) UK McDonald's Restaurant. http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/hccmcdsnov09.pdf (accessed September 2013).
41.Girgis, S, Neal, B, Prescott, Jet al. (2003) A one-quarter reduction in the salt content of bread can be made without detection. Eur J Clin Nutr 57, 616620.
42.Sadler, K, Nicholson, S, Steer, Tet al. (2012) National diet and nutrition survey – assessment of dietary sodium in adults (aged 19 to 64 years) in England, 2011. https://www.wp.dh.gov.uk/transparency/files/2012/06/Sodium-Survey-England-2011_Text_to-DH_FINAL1.pdf (accessed September 2013).
43.Bibbins-Domingo, K, Chertow, GM, Coxson, PGet al. (2010) Projected effect of dietary salt reductions on future cardiovascular disease. N Engl J Med 362, 590599.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed