Fast Food Access Linked to Poor Bone Development
Access to fast food restaurants may affect bone development in young children, concludes new research from the University of Southampton in the U.K.
Researchers looked at dietary and lifestyle data for 1,107 children that was collected in the Southampton Women’s Survey.
The researchers analyzed bone mineral density and bone mineral content of the children at birth and at age four or six, and then compared that to their neighborhood options for grocery stores, specialty health stores, and fast food outlets.
Their results, published in the journal Osteoporosis International, showed that a greater number of fast food outlets in a neighborhood was tied to lower bone mineral density and bone mineral content in newborns. The link was, however, not significant at age four and six. But the number of specialty health food stores in the neighborhood was tied to higher bone mineral density at age four and six.
According to study co-author Cyrus Cooper, “These findings suggest that the exposure of mothers and children to more healthy food environments might optimize childhood bone development through its influence on the quality of the maternal diet and dietary choices during childhood.”
Local planning regulations in some places in the U.K. disallow fast food outlets within 400 meters of schools.