Fast‐food restaurant, unhealthy eating, and childhood obesity: A systematic review and meta‐analysis

Peng Jia*, Miyang Luo, Yamei Li, Ju‐sheng Zheng, Qian Xiao, Jiayou Luo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
240 Downloads (Pure)


Excessive access to fast-food restaurants (FFRs) in the neighbourhood is thought to be a risk factor for childhood obesity by discouraging healthful dietary behaviours while encouraging the exposure to unhealthful food venues and hence the compensatory intake of unhealthy food option. A literature search was conducted in the PubMed, Web of Science, and Embase for articles published until 1 January 2019 that analysed the association between access to FFRs and weight-related behaviours and outcomes among children aged younger than 18. Sixteen cohort studies and 71 cross-sectional studies conducted in 14 countries were identified. While higher FFR access was not associated with weight-related behaviours (eg, dietary quality score and frequency of food consumption) in most studies, it was commonly associated with more fast-food consumption. Despite that, insignificant results were observed for all meta-analyses conducted by different measures of FFR access in the neighbourhood and weight-related outcomes, although 17 of 39 studies reported positive associations when using overweight/obesity as the outcome. This systematic review and meta-analysis revealed a rather mixed relationship between FFR access and weight-related behaviours/outcomes among children and adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12944
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalObesity reviews
Issue numberS1
Early online date10 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


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