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Kids Can Hit Fast Food Joints Fast

Posted Dec 18 2008 8:14pm

While dashing to and from school, it's conveniently easy for Chicago school kids to grab french fries, doughnuts, burgers and fried chicken at fast-food joints such as McDonald's, Subway, Dunkin' Donuts, KFC, Burger King, Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits and Wendy's.

In fact, all students in most public and private schools need to do is take a five- to 10-minute walk to reach at least one fast-food restaurant, says a new study, released Tuesday in the American Journal of Public Health.

Chicago isn't alone. Other large metropolitan areas also have fast-food restaurants "statistically significantly clustered in areas   within a short walking distance from schools," the researchers found.

"Children and teens are surrounded by unhealthy options," lead author Bryn Austin, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital in Boston, told USA Today.

Of course, we knew this already, but now we have some research to back it up.

Indeed, as schoolchildren are getting fatter and fatter, almost every day of the week, they enter an environment that just about begs -- if not tempts them -- to grab high-sugar, high-calorie, nutrition-lacking, inexpensive food.

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