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Fast food linked to lower test scores

The more often a child eats fast food, the more poorly he or she is likely to do on academic tests later, concludes a new study at Ohio State University.

Health Central, Dec 26, 2014

Specifically, the researchers found that the higher the consumption of fast food in the fifth grade, the worse children performed on math, reading and science tests in the eighth grade.

The scientists analyzed data from 11,740 students who were part of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort. When those children were in the fifth grade, they were asked to complete a food consumption questionnaire. More than 70 percent of the kids said they ate fast food at least once in the prior week. About 10 percent of the children said they ate fast food every day and an additional 10 percent said they ate it four to six times a week.

According to the team's analysis, the children who said they consumed fast food four to six times a week or every day in the fifth grade scored 20 percent lower on math, reading and science tests in the eighth grade than those who didn't eat any fast food.. Children who ate fast food one to three times a week had lower tesst scores on only the math test in the eight grade compared to those who said they ate no fast food.

The study, published in Clinical Pediatrics, noted that previous research has suggested that fast foods lack nutrients associated with cognitive development, such as iron.

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