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Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2015 Aug;54(9):871-7. doi: 10.1177/0009922814561742. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Fast Food Consumption and Academic Growth in Late Childhood.

Author information

  • 1The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
  • 2The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA.



The objective of this study is to examine the associations between fast food consumption and the academic growth of 8544 fifth-grade children in reading, math, and science.


This study uses direct assessments of academic achievement and child-reported fast food consumption from a nationally representative sample of kindergartners followed through eighth grade.


More than two thirds of the sample reported some fast food consumption; 20% reported consuming at least 4 fast food meals in the prior week. Fast food consumption during fifth grade predicted lower levels of academic achievement in all 3 subjects in eighth grade, even when fifth grade academic scores and numerous potential confounding variables, including socioeconomic indicators, physical activity, and TV watching, were controlled for in the models.


These results provide initial evidence that high levels of fast food consumption are predictive of slower growth in academic skills in a nationally representative sample of children.

© The Author(s) 2014.


academic achievement; child development; cognitive development; fast food

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