University of Illinois at Chicago researchers collected data on restaurant eating on more than 4,000 children under age eleven and nearly 5,000 teens.
They found that eating out equaled the kids eating 13 percent more sugar, 25 percent more saturated fat and 17 percent more salt than recommended. The findings were particularly true for kids from poorer families since these children were more likely to eat in fast food restaurants.
Researchers say a lot of those extra calories came from soda, which kids and teens often drink when they eat out. The team recommends menu planning and helping kids make better choices when the family eats out.
The study appears in the "Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine."