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Fast Food Makes Up 11% of Calories in U.S. Diet

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"Fast food is a fact of life, so we need to find ways we can live with it, not die from it," Heller said. "We need to encourage fast-food establishments to have a variety of healthy offerings that are marketed as cool, sexy, fun and delicious."

And, Heller suggested, "it is important for parents to steer their children away from fast food to begin with. Having more family meals helps kids eat healthier and they are less likely to be overweight."

The findings are published in the February issue of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief.

More information

To find out more about healthy diet, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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