U.S. spending on fast food has increased from $6 billion to $110 billion and calories attributed to fast food have risen from 3-12% in recent decades. This study was designed to assess the association between fast food store density around children's homes and fast food consumption. The average amount of selected dietary nutrients for those who ate fast food versus those that did not was compared. All participants were between the ages of 10 and 13 years old, living in San Diego County, California, and were recruited from community events or advertisements in local newspapers. One weekend and two weekday diet recalls of the preteens were collected using three 24-hour dietary recalls done over the telephone by trained interviewers using the Nutrition Data System. Daily consumption was averaged across all three previous day food recalls. Fast food was defined as any chain restaurant where food was purchased through carryout or self-service without wait-staff. Fast food restaurants were geographically plotted using Geographic Systems Software (GIS). Two "buffer zones" were created at a 0.5-mile and 1-mile radius surrounding each of the participant's homes. A total of 3,269 restaurants were identified and 98% were geo-coded Fast food was consumed by 47.7% of participants at least one time during the 3-day diet recall period. Among children who consumed fast food there was no significant difference in the number of fast food outlets surrounding their homes compared to children who did not consume fast food. While on an average day children who consumed fast food at least once consumed more calories, total fat, total carbohydrates, cholesterol, saturated fatty acids, sodium, and fructose, and less fiber and iron, than did those who did not eat fast food, none of the differences reached significance. Although there were no statistically significant differences in nutritional intake between children who ate fast food and children who did not, descriptive results suggest more power study designs are warranted to better understand the etiology of excess calorie consumption by youth. Given the high calorie foods served by the fast food industry, further research should be conducted to determine the role the fast food industry plays in the obesity epidemic.