Eating ultra-processed foods (such as fast food) and drinking sugary drinks are among the main causes of obesity and many diseases including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. These harmful foods and resulting obesity may be bad for our immune response to infection, including COVID-19. Recent research shows that, despite the risk, a third of children in the U.S. eat fast food on any given day. One out of every ten U.S. children and teens ages 2-19 consumed more than 45% of their daily calories from fast food. These numbers are alarming, particularly because fast foods are usually calorie-dense, as well as high in salt and unhealthy fats. This can lead to an increased risk for developing disease later in life. The fast food industry appears to have taken advantage of the pandemic by aggressive marketing, including offering special deals and alternatives to dining inside the restaurant which may lead to longer-term unhealthy eating behaviors. Overall, the fast food industry is making it hard to improve our eating behavior and our ability to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and chronic diseases such as diabetes.

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