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Study: Fast-Food Restaurants Still Lack Healthy Options

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File photo of McDonald's and Burger King. (credit: Getty Images)

File photo of McDonald’s and Burger King. (credit: Getty Images)

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PRINCETON, N.J. (CBSDC) – When it comes to the questionable health value of fast-food restaurants, not a lot has changed in 14 years.

A new study found that the nutritional quality of meals at fast-food restaurants has only slightly improved in 14 years. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s most recent study, the nutritional quality index of fast-food meals went from 45 out of 100 in 1997 to 48 in 2010.

“Given the role of fast food in Americans’ diets, restaurants are in a unique position to help improve the diet quality in the US by improving the nutritional quality of menu offerings,” Mary Hearst, lead investigator and associate professor of public health at St Catherine University in St Paul, Minn., told the Guardian.

The eight chains included in the study were McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Arby’s, Jack in the Box, and Dairy Queen. Though fast-food chains have improved their meat, saturated fat, and caloric intake levels, they have seen a dip in their dairy and sodium levels, according to the study.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, comes at a time when more than a quarter of Americans eat fast food at least twice a week.

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