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Regular takeaways put children at risk of heart disease, diabetes

Children who eat takeaway meals regularly may be at greater risk of heart disease and diabetes, and are also more likely to be consuming too many calories and fewer vitamins and minerals than children who eat food cooked at home, researchers say


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Children who eat takeaway meals regularly may be at greater risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to researchers.

They are also more likely to be consuming too many calories and fewer vitamins and minerals than children who eat food cooked at home, say the findings published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Researchers interviewed 1,948 children aged 9 or 10 from 85 English primary schools about their diet. Their height, weight, waist circumference, skinfold thickness, blood pressure and body fat composition were measured, and a blood sample was taken to check levels of circulating blood fats (total and low high-density cholesterol).

Higher blood fats

One in four children said they never or rarely ate takeaways, nearly half did so less than once a week, and 28% had one at least once a week. Boys had takeaways more frequently than girls, as did children from less affluent backgrounds.

There were no differences in blood pressure or insulin resistance between those who regularly ate takeaways and those who didn’t. But skinfold thickness, body fat composition and blood fats all tended to be higher in regular consumers of takeaways. The differences in blood fats were similar across all ethnic groups.

The researchers said: 'The higher total cholesterol and LDL (low density or ‘bad’) cholesterol concentrations observed in the frequent takeaway meal group, if sustained, are sufficiently large to increase long-term coronary heart disease risk by about 10%.'


Donin A et al (2017) Take away meal consumption and risk markers for coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity in children aged 9-10 years: a cross-sectional study. Archives of Disease in Childhood. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2017-312981

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