To investigate associations between takeaway meal consumption and risk markers for coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity risk markers in children.Design
A cross-sectional, school-based observational study.Setting
85 primary schools across London, Birmingham and Leicester.Participants
1948 UK primary school children in year 5, aged 9–10 years.Main outcome measures
Children reported their frequency of takeaway meal consumption, completed a 24-hour dietary recall, had physical measurements and provided a fasting blood sample.Results
Among 1948 participants with complete data, 499 (26%) never/hardly ever consumed a takeaway meal, 894 (46%) did so <1/week and 555 (28%) did ≥1/week. In models adjusted for age, sex, month, school, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, more frequent takeaway meal consumption was associated with higher dietary intakes of energy, fat % energy and saturated fat % energy and higher energy density (all P trend <0.001) and lower starch, protein and micronutrient intakes (all P trend <0.05). A higher frequency of takeaway meal consumption was associated with higher serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (P trend=0.04, 0.01, respectively); children eating a takeaway meal ≥1/week had total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol 0.09 mmol/L (95% CI 0.01 to 0.18) and 0.10 mmol/L (95% CI 0.02 to 0.18) higher respectively than children never/hardly ever eating a takeaway meal; their fat mass index was also higher.Conclusions
More frequent takeaway meal consumption in children was associated with unhealthy dietary nutrient intake patterns and potentially with adverse longer term consequences for obesity and coronary heart disease risk.