Parents, please note! Fast food may slow the brain and make children perform worse in school, a new study has warned.
In the study of more than 8,000 participants children who ate the most fast food were found to have poorer scores in tests for maths, science and reading.
“Research has been focused on how children’s food consumption contributes to the child obesity epidemic. Our findings provide evidence that eating fast food is linked to another problem: poorer academic outcomes,” said Dr Kelly Purtell who led the study at Ohio State University.
The research used data from a national representative American sample of 8,500 schoolchildren, whose fast food consumption was measured at the age of 10, and then compared against academic test results three years later.
Children were asked how many times they had eaten a meal or snack from a fast-food restaurant, ‘The Telegraph’ reported.
Fifty two per cent had eaten fast food between one and three times in the previous week and 10 per cent had eaten it four to six times.
In science tests, the daily eaters scored an average of 79 points, compared to 83 in those who never ate fast food.
Similar differences in academic achievement were observed for reading and maths.
Researchers said it is possible that a lack of iron – which is associated with fast food – leads to a slowing in development of certain processes in the brain.
Another theory is that diets high in fat and added sugar have a detrimental impact on learning processes.
The research was published in journal Clinical Pediatrics.