KFC's Double Down sandwich; anxiety in children of deployed military personnel

Double Down: It's not the worst.
Double Down: It's not the worst. (Dan Kremer/associated Press)
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adapted from The Post's daily health blog.

Hold the bread. Hold the outrage, too.

Have you read what they're saying about KFC's new Double Down sandwich? You know, the one that uses two fried chicken filets in place of a bun, with bacon and cheese stuck in between? In addition to "the vilest food product created by man," bloggers have called it "angina on a plate" and "potentially lethal."

I'm not going to defend the Double Down as a healthful meal choice. But those who think it's the worst thing you can order from a fast-food restaurant haven't done their homework.

According to the KFC Web site, a fried Double Down has 540 calories, 290 of them from fat (that's 32 grams of total fat, 10 of them saturated and 0.5 trans fats). It also delivers 1,380 milligrams of sodium. (A grilled version has 80 fewer calories and nine fewer grams of total fat -- but 50 more milligrams of sodium.)

As I say, this is clearly not health food. But it is also clearly not the worst thing out there. Tool around the site of any major fast-food chain and find the nutrition data. (It's a fun exercise, Double Down research aside.) While increasingly you can find better-for-you options on most menus, there's still plenty of high-calorie, fat-laden and sodium-spiked food to be had. Even at Subway, which has built a reputation as the land of healthful sandwiches, a six-inch chicken and bacon ranch sandwich has 570 calories, 250 of them from fat (28 grams total) and 1,190 milligrams of sodium.

-- Jennifer LaRue Huget

The readers voted: In a poll about the Double Down, 1,221 readers were pretty evenly divided: 27 percent were "curious to try it once"; 26 percent said it "doesn't appeal to me, but I don't mind if others enjoy it"; 25 percent agreed that it's "angina on a plate"; and 22 percent said it's "much ado about nothing."

Wars' toll on military kids

Children of troops deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq are more likely than other kids to suffer from anxiety when a parent is away and even after the parent returns home, according to new research.

Patricia Lester of UCLA and her colleagues studied 171 families from the Army's Fort Lewis in Florida and the Marines' Camp Pendleton in California in which the mother or the father was on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. About one-third of the children in these families had increased levels of anxiety, the researchers report in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. But more surprisingly, the anxiety tended to persist even after the parent returned home, the researchers found.

The researchers also found an interesting gender difference in how the anxiety manifested itself: Girls were more likely to act out and exhibit disruptive behavior when the parent was deployed. The problems with boys tended to show up after the deployed parent returned home.

-- Rob Stein

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