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April 1976

Fast Foods for AdolescentsNutritional Disaster or Triumph of Technology?

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center 111 E 210th St Bronx, NY 10467

Am J Dis Child. 1976;130(4):362-363. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1976.02120050020003

Diets eaten by children and adolescents frequently alarm and puzzle their parents, and sometimes their medical advisors as well. The periodically recurring fad diets based on occult or religious beliefs run the gamut from the bizarre and dangerous (brown rice and water) to the nutritionally acceptable. For example, the vegetarian menus, often difficult to select with the necessary precision for protein adequacy, may be nutritionally sound when properly designed. These unusual diets, which must be evaluated individually, do not compose the more general concern about adolescent eating. The heavy patronage of fast-food chains looms much larger. How do such foods compare in nutritional adequacy to the usual "balanced" home diet?

Before one can answer such a question, one must have a means for analyzing a diet, and one must have standards of nutritional adequacy. Two inexpensive references, Agriculture Handbook No. 81 and Recommended Dietary Allowances,2 belong in every

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