HUFFINGTON POST
11/09/2010 05:00 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Is Fast Food America Really Trying To Get Healthier? (VIDEO)

We all know fast food is bad for us, yet still 84 percent of parents report taking their child to a fast food restaurant at least once a week, according to a new study out of Yale University.

Conducted by Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, the study took the most comprehensive look at the nutritional content of fast-food kids' meals known to date.

While fast food chains such as McDonalds, Taco Bell and Burger King have made great strides to bolster healthy eating options, servers rarely present them to parents, the study found. Startlingly, in a sample of over 250 fast food restaurants, when ordering a kids' meal parents were offered a healthy option only 6-8 percent of the time.

Marlene Schwartz, Ph.D., of Yale University's Rudd Center, explained the present state of healthy eating in U.S. fast food chains to ABC News. "The situation right now is that it is possible to get a healthy meal at a fast food restaurant but that it is very difficult," said Schwartz.

The study delved further into the issue, taking a look at what researchers called a "relentless marketing" campaign put forth by fast-food giants. Researchers found that the average preschooler saw nearly three TV ads per day for fast food. The numbers grew by age brackets; young children and preteens saw nearly four ads per day and teens saw nearly five.

Check out the full study here.

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