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Study compares calorie content of popular kids meals

A comparison of kids meals served up by three of the leading UK fast food chains has revealed the McDonald’s Happy Meal to be the most calorific at 381.71 calories.

Falling 5.04Kcals behind McDonald’s, KFC reaches 376.67Kcals, while Burger King has the lowest average calories for all main meals considered, with its children’s meal averaging only 269.08Kcals per serving.

The research by follows data from the National Statistics publication of National Child Measurement Programme, which found 40.3% of UK children in year 6 are obese.

Chewsy collected the data by analysing the nutritional information provided by each fast food chain on their website and averaging the sugar, salt, calorie, and fat intake per main meal option, as well as sides and drinks where provided.

It found that as well as having the highest calorific average, McDonalds also has the highest fat content, with 13g per serving.

KFC has the highest sugar content (20.3g), across all three fast-food chains, the equivalent of five teaspoons of sugar, which exceeds the daily amount of sugar for 4 to 6-year olds (19g). KFC also has the highest salt content at 1.37g.

As well as having the lowest number of calories, Burger King has the lowest fat (9.83g), sugar (10.92g) and salt (1g) per meal serving.

A Chewsy spokesperson commented: “There has always been an obesity problem within the UK and now due to the restaurant and fast food prices being slashed, due to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, parents may be more willing to spend on meal options that are not necessarily healthy for their children. "Our research highlights that it's especially shocking to see that McDonald’s has the highest daily average calorie intake which should be only 1,530-1,649 for children aged 7. It's clear more needs to be done to get to the real root of childhood obesity. Perhaps overseeing how fast food restaurants develop children's meals in compliance with government/NHS nutritional guidelines will ensure that parents remain more vigilant when choosing the meals their children eat. As fast food is still a cheap option for parents, it seems it's the responsibility of the brand to carefully select meals that are more nutritious and less calorific.”

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