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In light of the increasing prevalence of juvenile obesity seen around the world, obesogenic environments in general and the food environment in particular are receiving increasing attention in current public health research. Restaurants play a significant role in the food environment. The present study aimed to quantitatively describe and qualitatively evaluate the range of children’s meals available in full-service restaurants in Germany.
Five hundred restaurants were identified using a systematic quota sampling technique. The individual meals were evaluated using quality standards stipulated by the German Nutrition Society (DGE).
Nationwide sample of menus from full-service restaurants.
Meals (n 1877) from 500 menus were analysed.
Menus included 3·76 (sd 1·31) meals for children. About 70 % of the meals were limited to six typical dishes of low nutritional quality. In total, 54 % of meals included French fries or another form of fried potatoes. Of all meals, 23 % did not fulfil any of the eleven quality criteria set by the DGE and 38 % satisfied only one criterion. The majority of dishes on offer featured high energy density while simultaneously having low nutrient density. Healthy dishes were not highlighted visually in any menu.
The range of dishes on offer for children in German restaurants is severely lacking in variety and in need of improvement from a nutritional point of view. Considering the growing importance of restaurants as food environments, there is a need to improve the presentation of menus and the meals offered.
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