Is fast food ruining our kids?

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HOUSTON, TX - Worried about childhood obesity? Stop feeding your kids so much fast food!

A new study finds on any given day, one in three kids is chowing down on stuff like chicken nuggets, pizza and fries.

"It's something quick when you've got two people working and everything," says HIP Fitness owner and mother of two Lubna Kamal, "but I think there's also a lot of other options."

On average, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says American kids eat the equivalent of a Happy Meal hamburger every day of their lives. Kamal admits she avoids those, but she does not deprive her daughter of fast food. "I try to stick to healthier choices," she says, "more sandwiches, turkey, that type of thing."

For kids under 12, nearly 9% of the food they eat is fast food. With older kids, ages 12 to 19, it's closer to 17% of their diets. That is nearly one in every five bites they take!

No wonder obesity rates have quadrupled in adolescents over the last 30 years.

But be careful putting kids on diets, says registered dietician and nutritionist Jeff Gibberman of Wellness Coaching and Nutrition Therapy, "If you make your kid think that they're fat and then you try to get them on a diet (which is not a good way to help them grow into a healthy adult body), you're actually doing more damage, and you can actually make them more overweight in the long run."

Tanya Miller is mom to two adopted sons, Justin, 10, and Jahleel, 9. "When (Jahleel) was younger (he) had the potential of being obese, so we made a conscious effort to get him to lose the weight by cooking more for him," she says. Now she saves fast food as a treat on weekends, choosing to cook several dishes on Sundays and reheating them for meals during the week.

Mom Katarina Horacek Kokosar recently moved here from Slovenia. She says many of the mothers she has met have trouble preparing meals, "I don't know if they don't find time to cook, if this is the problem, or it's the problem (that) they don't know how to prepare or what ingredients to use."

Whatever the case, it seems like it's time we all find the recipe to a better diet!