The most unhealthy meals for kids at fast-food chains such as McDonald's, KFC and Burger King have been revealed.

The details come as data from the National Statistics publication of National Child Measurement Programme found that 40.3 per cent of UK schoolchildren in year 6 are obese.

Experts at Chewsygum.com have compared three of the leading UK fast-food chains (KFC, McDonald’s, and Burger King) to see which meals are the most calorific for children.

The site collected the data by analysing the nutritional information provided by each fast-food chain on their website and averaging the sugar, salt, calorie, and fat intake per main meal option, as well as sides and drinks where provided.

CALORIES

With a variety of meals, sides, and drink options to choose from, McDonald’s knocks KFC off the top with a calorie average per ‘Happy Meal’ of 381.71 KCALs.

Falling 5.04 KCALs behind McDonald’s, the fried chicken chain KFC reaches 376.67 KCALS per serving.

Burger King, however, has the lowest average calories for all main meals considered, as their children’s meal average is only 269.08 KCALs per serving.

Southend Standard:

Daily Average Calorie Intake Consumption

Across all three fast-food chains, out of children aged 7-10, girls and boys aged seven have the highest daily calorie intake.

The daily calorie intake for boys and girls aged seven is 1,649 and 1,530, respectively.

The highest of that average is McDonald’s with 23.14 per cent for boys and 24.94 per cent for girls.

Following closely behind is KFC with 22.84 per cent for boys and 24.61 per cent for girls. Burger King sits at just 16.31 per cent for boys and 17.58 per cent for girls.

FAT

McDonald’s has, not only the highest calorific average but also the highest fat content, with 13 grams of fat per serving. 

Coming in second, is none-other than KFC’s Colonel Sanders himself at 11.43 grams of fat per serving, only 1.57 grams lower than its rival, McDonald’s

Finally, Burger King shows the lowest grams of fat per serving (9.83). Across all the three chosen fast-food chains Burger King is the lowest for all four content averages (calories, fat, sugars, and salt).

SUGAR

Chewsy found that out of the three selected fast-food chains, KFC exceeds (20.3 grams) the daily sugar intake of children between the ages of four and six (19 grams) by 6.8 per cent. KFC also comes close to exceeding the daily intake for children between seven and 10 (24 grams). 

McDonald’s has an average of four teaspoons of sugar in their ‘Happy Meals’. They nearly hit the daily sugar intake for children between the ages of four to six by serving 17.39 grams of sugar on average in each meal.

Out of the three fast-food chains Burger King serves almost half of KFC’s sugar average. Burger King stands at 10.92 grams of sugar, 9.38 grams less than KFC and nearly half the number of teaspoons compared to McDonald’s.

SALT

Not only is KFC holding the title for the highest sugar content, but they also hold the highest salt average (1.37 grams). KFC’s average meal constitutes 45.7 per cent and 27.4 per cent of the daily average of salt for four to six-years olds (3 grams) and seven to 10-year olds (5 grams), respectively.

Following closely behind, McDonald’s stands at 1.29 grams of salt per serving, 0.08 grams lower than KFC.

Again, remaining the lowest of the three fast-food chains is Burger King, with an average of 1 gram of salt per meal serving.

How was the research carried out?

Chewsy looked at nutritional information from McDonald'sKFC, and Burger King. Specifically, they focused on calories, fat, salt, and sugars.

The average calories, fat, salt, and sugars were found by adding the meals, sides, and drinks together and diving the total by the number of items offered.

Across all three fast-food chains, Chewsygum extracted data for 'sugars' and 'carbohydrate sugars' which are the same. Burger King was the only restaurant to stipulate 'fat sugars' as well as 'carbohydrate sugars'. However, according to nutritional experts, fat sugars don't exist, and to maintain consistency and credibility, Chewsygum used sugars only.

Chewsy added sides and drinks to McDonald’s main meals to provide averages, whilst Burger King and KFC already had a set menu.