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Quick Hits: Fast Food Wins, Diets Lose

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Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

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Whether on the latest iteration of Playstation (SNE) or Xbox (MSFT), parents spend a sizable chunk of their disposable incomes on gaming. But a new study by market research firm the NDP Group reveals parents of childern under 15 spend even more money on fast food than they do on books, music, movies and, yes, video games combined.

This is bad news for proponents of a healthy lifestyle and the children themselves, but music to the ears of fast food chains McDonald's (MCD), Burger King (BKC) and Wendy's (WEN).

Sure, fast food chains are pushing healthier menu items, but a quick scan of the nutrition data reveals that "healthier" is relative. For example, McDonalds' Grilled Snack Wrap, a seemingly benign combination of chicken, lettuce and tortilla, has twice the fat of even the most indulgent six-inch sandwich from Subway.

Rising food prices are squeezing the budgets of families around the country and indeed the world, making lower cost options at meal time more and more attractive. While investors in the aforementioned chains may chear, their doctors -- and arteries -- will not.

For a longer-term opportunity, investors may want to look at Pfizer (PFE), maker of the popular cholesterol drug Lipitor.

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