Fast food restaurants helping to battle childhood obesity - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Fast food restaurants helping to battle childhood obesity

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

We all may have gained a few pounds over the holidays even children.    

Overall, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 12.5 million kids are battling childhood obesity in the United States.  That number has almost tripled since the 1980s.

Some fast food restaurants are taking steps to get some children back in shape for the New Year.

The Fernandez family likes to come to Chick-fil-A a few times a month. 

"The chicken nuggets that I ate taste really good," said 5-year-old Atiana Mia Fernandez.

Her mom, Jasmin, says it is sometimes hard to find healthy choices for her kids when they are eating fast food.

"We want them to grow up healthy, and you know, even though it is fast food, to have good habits," said Fernandez.

That is why starting on January 9th Chick-fil-A will begin offering grilled chicken nuggets and applesauce on their kids' menu.

"A four-count kids meal, the grilled [nuggets are] going to be 70 calories and a grilled six-count is going to be 110 calories.  We're also adding an applesauce to go along with a fruit cup and waffle fries.  So, they'll have a choice for a side item," said Nate Stevens, the evening manager for Chick-fil-A on Bradley Park Drive in Columbus.

Health studies have shown that children are growing heavier by the year with even 11-year-old boys and girls 10 to 15 pounds heavier than in the 1960s.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 12 million kids, ages 2 to 19, are obese.

"In order to really take the lead, we wanted to add the applesauce, and we wanted to add the grilled nuggets to give us a competitive edge as well as be healthier," said Stevens.

Other fast food chains, like McDonalds, Wendy's and Arby's, are also trying to add healthy options like apple slices and milk.  There is even a turkey sandwich option at Arby's for kids.

Chick-fil-A is boasting one of the lowest calorie meals with grilled nuggets, 1% milk, and a fruit cup coming in at 210 calories.

"That's great especially having younger kids around.  They offer cheerios here, but you know I get the chicken noodle soup and you know, for like babies, the applesauce, that's great," said Fernandez.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is not only important to limit foods high in fat and sugar, it is also important to make sure your kids do 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day.

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