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Name: ___________________________
Date: _______________
Unit 8 - Macromolecules HW
Best and Worst Fast Food Kids' Meals
Even if you don't want fries with that kids' meal, chances are your fast food restaurant wants to give you some.
Chains like McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Burger King offer unhealthy sides and drinks 84 percent of the time, in
lieu of their more nutritious offerings like apple slices, yogurt, and juice. That's among the findings of a new
analysis released Monday by researchers at Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, which
examined fast food marketing and nutrition trends. The fast food industry has stepped up its efforts to reach
children and teens, the researchers say: Last year, preschoolers saw 56 percent more ads for Subway, 21
percent more ads for McDonald's, and 9 percent more ads for Burger King than they did in 2007. And often,
they're bombarded with images of snacks and desserts—children see more than two advertisements each day
promoting unhealthy menu items.
The report adds weight to concerns about the childhood obesity epidemic. As fast food marketing campaigns
become more aggressive, children are more likely to chow down on greasy fries and burgers, Rudd Center
researchers say, which could take a toll on their waistlines. And childhood obesity isn't just a short-term
problem: Obese teens are 16 times more likely than their peers to become severely obese by age 30,
according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (Severe obesity was
defined as a body mass index of 40 or greater; obesity was defined as a BMI of more than 25.) Severe obesity
can lead to diabetes, hypertension, asthma, arthritis, and a shorter life, says senior author Penny GordonLarsen, a nutrition researcher at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
"It's very easy to eat a high-calorie, high-fat diet," she says. "We have so much food around—high-fat, highsugar, tasty food that we need to be very careful of. Those foods are marketed well to people, and making
healthier choices takes a lot more work."
That's why California is taking steps to blunt the influence fast-food marketing can have by banning toys that
come with kids' meals loaded with calories, fat, and sugar. Last week, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors
approved an ordinance that would prevent fast food chains from offering toys with kids' meals, unless they
contain less than 600 calories—no more than 35 percent from fat— and 640 milligrams of sodium. All meals
would also be required to include fruits and vegetables. The legislation could become law in December.
Industry officials cite some chains' increasing emphasis on healthy options: "There can be no dispute that the
restaurant industry has been committed to providing a growing array of nutritious offerings for children," Joy
Dubost, director of nutrition and healthy living at the National Restaurant Association, said in a statement to
reporters. "Numerous surveys show the increasing number of healthful options in kids' meals. And nutritious
offerings in Children’s meals is the number one food trend in [fast food] restaurants."
The Rudd Center researchers analyzed the calories, fat, sugar, and sodium in more than 3,000 possible
combinations that chains market as kids' meals. The meals were then ranked as "best" and "worst" based on
guidelines set in 2009 by the Institute of Medicine, an independent advisory panel to the U.S. government.
Preschool children should consume no more than 410 calories and 544 milligrams of sodium per meal,
according to the IOM, compared to 650 calories and 636 milligrams of sodium for elementary school children,
and 700 calories and 720 milligrams of sodium for older children. Only 12 kids' meal combos met the IOM's
nutrition criteria for preschoolers, while 15 met the criteria for elementary kids. Another 20 combos met kids'
calorie goals, but were too high in at least one area, like sodium, the Rudd researchers found. Just 36—or
approximately 1 percent—of the kids' meal combos they examined qualified as "best," which the researchers
ranked.
The vast majority, however, were placed in the "worst" category and weren't ranked, since they were all
"equally bad," says study leader Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center. Instead,
Name: ___________________________ Date: _______________ Period: ______
researchers described the worst three kids' meals at each restaurant. But if parents are turning to a fast food
restaurant for dinner, any of the "best" options are all reasonable, she says: "We feel comfortable
recommending those meals to children."
Questions:
1. What happened to the amount of fast food advertising seen by preschool age children last year?
2. What are some of the possible effects of severe obesity?
3. Explain the legislation that California is passing to combat childhood obesity from fast food intake in
complete sentences.
4. A survey was conducted that ranked many fast food kids’ meals. How many were found to be acceptable
(“best”) for children to eat?
5. In 3 - 4 complete sentences, explain your own opinion on fast food kids’ meals. Do you think eating fast
food plays a role in childhood obesity? If so, do you believe we have an obligation to make changes that
encourage children to eat healthier?
LPPACS – Schmidt
2
Name: ___________________________
Date: _______________
Instructions: For each multiple choice question that appears below, select the best answer choice from those
provided. Then, explain your answer in a complete sentence.
1. Which statement describes the major role of lipids within a cell?
a. They cause DNA to replicate.
b. They move RNA in the cytoplasm.
c. They catalyze chemical reactions in the cell cytoplasm.
d. They are the main structural components of membranes.
2. Which of these supplies the main energy source used in cellular respiration?
a. lipids
b. amino acids
c. nucleic acids
d. carbohydrates
3. Most carbohydrates in the human body are
a. used as building blocks for proteins
b. used as catalysts for reactions in cells
c. consumed as a source of energy
d. not easily absorbed into the bloodstream
4. A scientist removed the cell membranes from bacteria cells in a culture. She analyzed the cell
membranes for specific molecules. Which of these was probably the most common type of molecule
present in the bacteria cell membranes?
a. lipid
b. amino acid
c. nucleic acid
d. carbohydrate
5. Glucose is a building block of carbohydrates. Which of these best describes glucose?
a. nucleotide
b. protein
c. monosaccharide
d. lipid
6. The characteristics listed below can be used to describe some molecules.
Name: ___________________________ Date: _______________ Period: ______
1. inorganic
2. supplies energy and fiber
3. component of plant cell walls
4. part of DNA
5. made of nucleotides
Which of these sets of characteristics describes a carbohydrate?
a. 1-3-5
b. 2-3-4
c. 2-4-5
d. 1-3-4
Instructions: For the two short answer questions provided, answer the question fully and in complete
sentences. Make sure to answer all parts of the question as asked.
1. Cardinals are birds that spend the winter in Maryland. Many people feed them sunflower seeds during the
winter months. Some of the carbohydrates in the cardinal’s diet come from these seeds. Describe:
1. the building blocks of carbohydrates
2. an example of a monosaccharide
3. how carbohydrates are used by living organisms
4. the two main classes of carbohydrates and the difference between them
LPPACS – Schmidt
4