Don’t just blame fast food

If fast-food joints magically disappeared, many kids would still be obese

Even if eating at fast-food restaurants wasn’t an option, many children would continue eating poorly enough for them to remain overweight or obese, a study finds.

Researchers from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill looked at health and nutrition data on 4,466 American children ages 2 to 18, grouping them according to what they ate outside of fast-food restaurants, according to the Los Angeles Times. They found that the children whose consumption of non-fast-food items included relatively high amounts of saturated fats and added sugars—even among those who were considered “nonconsumers” of fast food—were the most likely to be overweight or obese.

The authors wrote that “the effect of public-health efforts targeted at fast-food restaurants may … be overestimated, such that these efforts may be necessary but not sufficient to reduce child[hood] obesity if the remainder of the diet is not addressed.”