Fast Food and Child Obesity

Rutuja Jathar Apr 17, 2019
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Fast food is the wide term, used for food that can be cooked, and served in very less time. Most of them are delicious, but there are several health issues related to consuming such foods. One serious concern is obesity amongst children.
Ready to eat food items, what we know as fast food are hugely popular today. Various restaurants and food joints serve delicious food items with relatively cheap prices which tempts consumers to try some.
The biggest consumers of these foods are obviously the children. They seem to love the idea of going out with their friends and parents.
We often observe children persistently asking their parents to go out, and have various kinds of outside eating items, rather than having homemade food. This is not unexpected because they are children, and are more attracted to the advertisements of fast foods.

Fast Food in Relation to Child Obesity

Fast foods are basically high in starch, sugar, salts, and fats which is served in a large quantity in just a single serving. It is an agreed fact that children lead a very active lifestyle, and that they can digest the food high in fat.
This is a common assumption that can be wrong at times, as children having a really active lifestyle are also observed to develop fat over large consumption of fast food. Hence, we can say that yes, fast food and child obesity do share a common link somewhere. But is it true? Let us find out.
Obesity, especially among children, is a growing problem in the US today. The main culprit is actually hiding under the veil of yummy taste and low cost 'happy meals'. Yes it's the fast food that we cannot simply resist. A study says that nearly one-third of all American children, both boys and girls in the age group 4 - 19 eat fast food on a regular basis.
The study also says that kids also gain weight up to 6 pounds per year on regular consumption of fast food. This is an astonishing fact that definitely needs a lot of attention.

Effects of Fast Food on Children

Fast foods are really high in fats, sugars, and calories than other food items; which makes them low on nutritional value. Children as well as their parents are not much aware of the mentioned fast food facts.

Sugar

High sugar levels make the children more prone to developing type 2 diabetes. Getting affected by diabetes at such an early age reduces, or actually stops the insulin production in their body, which can be very harmful.

Fats

Saturated fats in the fast food are really very harmful for the kids' health, which leads to heightened levels of blood cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides, leading to many early age problems with respect to the heart health, and many other cardiovascular diseases like dyslipidemia and coronary heart diseases.

Salt

Excessive salt levels in fast food ultimately results in high blood pressure which leads to rupturing and cracking of the arteries and veins. To repair these blood vessels, the body accumulates lipoprotein, and converts it into cholesterol that ultimately results in high cholesterol level in the blood.

Other Effects

Children in their growing age need a lot of vitamin and iron. High consumption of fast food makes the children more prone to illnesses like loss of appetite, constipation, tiredness, fatigue, lack of concentration, and diseases like anemia that are caused due to vitamin deficiencies. All these and more are caused by high consumption of fast food.
These foods are high in starch, which raises the food cravings in children as a result they eat more, and thus gain more weight. High consumption of fast food makes vegetables, fruits and, other natural food to almost vanish from the daily diet of the children, which further results in the calcium deficiencies that affects the health of nails and teeth.

What can be Done

Fast food causes obesity, which is the main reason making children more prone to illnesses, some of them being irreversible. As a result of obesity, these children naturally get more tired than other kids which makes them stay home, and perform less physical activities.
Child obesity also develops inferiority complex in the children that aggravates the problem of obesity. So, what is the solution to stop all this? You can't simply stop the kids from having the fast food items. What you can do is to explain the kids about the harmful effect of pizzas and burgers in the long run.
Try to make healthy and spicy dishes that your kid loves at home only. You can make almost all the fast food recipes with more healthy toppings like green pepper, onion and less amount of cheese.
Cook food in a healthy way like roasting, grilling, and broiling while cooking the meat and chicken. Include salads, fruits, cereals and green vegetables to the daily diet of your kid to fulfill dietary needs, and stop the unwanted food cravings.
Encourage your kid to take active participation in events like swimming, field sports, and other calorie burning activities and exercises that will keep them fit and healthy.
As we know, a little bit of everything is always good while overexposure to that 'little bit' is disastrous more often than not. Fast food is no exception to this. Fast food and child obesity are very much interrelated until you try to hinder the need of your kid for fast food with food made by you with added spice of TLC. Take care!