Fast food or junk food is a generic term for all kinds of foods which are rich in energy, because they contain a lot of fat and sugar, as well as salt, but are relatively low in other important nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
However, fast food is extremely attractive to most kids because of its taste, comparatively lower price, and convenience (doesn’t require any cooking or preparation). Since children typically do not understand how this kind of food negatively impacts their health, it can be quite addictive.
Researchers found children are eating fast food more often. In 2021, 91 percent of parents reported purchasing lunch or dinner for their child in the past week at one of the four largest chains, up from 79 percent in 2010.
Effects of Junk Food on kid’s Health
Regular junk food intake leads to long-term health problems such as obesity, accompanying emotional and self-esteem problems, and chronic illnesses in later life. A single fast food meal could add 160 and 310 extra kilocalories to the daily caloric intake for teenagers and younger children, respectively.
Lack of vitamins such as A and C, and minerals such as magnesium and calcium, encourage the development of deficiency diseases and osteoporosis, as well as dental caries due to higher sugar intake.
The presence of hazardous food coloring agents and/or unhealthy trans fats in many fast food items, and issues with food preparation safety, often complicate the issue further.
The problem of obesity is a significant public health concern, and it affects children in particular. Obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater. The consequences of obesity for children can be serious, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer. Obesity can also lead to problems with mobility and joint health.
Fast food intake definitely needs to be strictly controlled in kids as it does no good and may do much harm. The antidote? Surprisingly, a simple increase in fruit intake can improve mood and reduce the severity of atopic diseases. Stopping the marketing of junk foods directed at children with attractive characters and gifts may be one way to help children eat better. Another method is to make healthy food more easily available at affordable prices and in a more appealing format.