Kids And Fast Food
The study surveyed approximately 800 parents in 2010, 2013, and 2016 about what they ordered for their 2- to 11-year-old child in the past week from one of the top four fast-food restaurants. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed were moms aged 25-40, and most had two or more children aged 2-11 years.
The study also found children are eating fast food more often. In 2016, 91 percent of parents reported purchasing lunch or dinner for their child in the past week at one of the four largest chains, up from 79 percent in 2010. Families visited McDonald’s the most.
Nearly all parents responded positively to healthier kids’ meal policies at the specific restaurant they visited and said the policy would make them purchase food for their child at that restaurant more often.
Fifty percent of children who received a kids’ meal got a healthier side item, and 59 percent received a healthier kids’ meal drink.
In general, parents are purchasing healthier options for their younger children (ages 2-5) than for older kids (ages 6-11) at fast-food restaurants.
Across all three years studied, parents were significantly more likely to buy only a kids’ meal, and not another menu item on top of it, for a younger child than for an older child (64 percent versus 46 percent, respectively).
Parents were also more likely to receive a healthier drink when purchasing a kids’ meal for a younger child than for an older child (66 percent versus 50 percent, respectively).