THE MOST FATTENING FAST FOOD KIDS MEALS IN SOUTH AFRICA
In May 2015, Professor Hans de Ridder of NWU’s school of biokinetics, recreation and sports science provided research showing that South African children were the third most obese in the world.
South Africa has a significant weight problem, with around one quarter of the population being obese, most notably among South African women, where 38% are obese, and 70% regarded as overweight.
The weight problems among SA kids can be attributed to poor diets and not enough physical activity, said de Ridder.
One of the biggest contributors to unhealthy eating is fast food, packed with saturated fats, and high carbohydrate and salt content.
South Africa has well over 4,500 local and international fast food franchises in the country, with more brands expected to open up outlets in the future.
Previous data compiled by BusinessTech showed that some of South Africa’s worst offenders provided meals that took up half of an adult’s daily kilojoule needs – with some stretching far past that.
The average amount of kilojoules needed for boys aged seven to ten is 7,600 kJ per day, and for girls its 7,125 kJ. For the RDI percentages below, the median figure of 7,350 kJ was used.
These are the worst meals available from SA fast food outlets for your kids.
Only franchises with children-specific menu items were included – so high calorie chains such as Debonaires and Roman’s Pizza are not included.
It goes without saying that should a child eat from the adult section of the menu, that meal would be far worse on all the metrics listed below. Added treats (ice-creams) and drink replacements (milkshakes, soft drinks) have also not been factored in.
|Captain’s Chicken & Cheese Quesadilla|
|Kilojoules||1 375 kJ|
|Fat (g)||17.0 g|
|Saturated fat (g)||9.0 g|
|Sodium (mg)||282 mg|
|Salt (g)||0.71 g|
|% of RDI||18.7%|
Kauai is by far the best fast food option for kids in South Africa (barring avoiding fast food altogether). The chain’s chicken and cheese quesadilla packs the heaviest punch at 1,375 kJ – with the other kids menu items faring even better.
|Nando’s 2 Wings and Chips|
|Kilojoules||1 868 kJ|
|Fat (g)||23.4 g|
|Saturated fat (g)||6.8 g|
|Sodium (mg)||428 mg|
|Salt (g)||1.07 g|
|% of RDI||25.4%|
Nando’s is another healthier option for kids – with the biggest contributor to the meal’s salt content coming from the chips. The chicken on its own is only 1,202 kJ (16% of RDI).
|KFC Mini Burger Meal|
|Kilojoules||2 493 kJ|
|Fat (g)||17.2 g|
|Saturated fat (g)||7.4 g|
|Sodium (mg)||1 164 mg|
|Salt (g)||2.91 g|
|% of RDI||33.9%|
Recently under the spotlight for its salt content, the KFC kids meal is both high in sodium and swipes off one third of a child’s recommended daily intake. The meal includes chips and a juice box, which also adds to the count.
|Steers Brat Pack Burger Meal|
|Kilojoules||2 728 kJ|
|Fat (g)||28.8 g|
|Saturated fat (g)||5.9 g|
|Sodium (mg)||1 215 mg|
|Salt (g)||3.04 g|
|% of RDI||37.1%|
The Steers Bratpack comes standard with a Steers burger, chips and a juice box, and accounts for more than a third of a child’s RDI. The meal, largely thanks to the chips, also has the highest salt content out of all the meals listed.
|Wimpy Kids Cheeseburger and Chips|
|Kilojoules||2 821 kJ|
|Fat (g)||35.2 g|
|Saturated fat (g)||11.3 g|
|Sodium (mg)||769 mg|
|Salt (g)||1.92 g|
|% of RDI||38.4%|
Popular family restaurant and take-away, Wimpy has a wide selection of meals for children. The worst meal on the restaurant’s kids menu is the cheese burger and chips, which contains the most fat out of all the meals presented, and almost 40% of a child’s RDI.
This does not include a drink, so the potential is there for this meal to reach past even the worst offender.
|King Box Cheeseburger Meal|
|Kilojoules||3 094 kJ|
|Fat (g)||32.1 g|
|Saturated fat (g)||8.0 g|
|Sodium (mg)||1 140 mg|
|Salt (g)||2.85 g|
|% of RDI||42.1%|
Burger King has the second worst meal for kids in South Africa, with its King Box cheeseburger meal wiping over 40% of a child’s daily intake in one sitting. The box contains a cheeseburger, chips and a juicebox.
|McDonald’s Happy Cheeseburger Meal|
|Kilojoules||3 156 kJ|
|Fat (g)||31.9 g|
|Saturated fat (g)||16.0 g|
|Sodium (mg)||932 mg|
|Salt (g)||2.33 g|
|% of RDI||42.9%|
The McDonald’s Happy Meal takes the crown as the heftiest kids meal in the country, inching past Burger King for the top spot. The cheeseburger option hits for 3,156 kJ, or almost 43% of a child’s daily intake. It contains chips and a juicebox.
High salt content
On top of the high energy meals listed above, we included salt content, which has again come under some scrutiny in the country.
Research conducted by WASH found that KFC’s chicken burger kids meal in South Africa was one of the saltiest fast foods for children in the world.
WASH’s research, however, did not include some local franchises, focusing only on the international guys.
As the information above shows, the KFC burger in question is in fact only the second-highest in the country for salt content – the top ‘honour’ goes to the Steers Brat Pack meal, which packs over 3 grams of salt per meal.
The World Health Organisation recommends that adults eat less than 5g of salt (a teaspoon) a day.
According to the Heart Foundation in South Africa, experts estimate that salt intake by some South Africans could be as high as 40g of salt a day.