Fast foods or junk foods are rich in energy, as they have lots of fat, sugar, and salt. However, they’re low on nutrients that are important for a human body, such as protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Despite this fact, they are made to look extremely attractive, especially to children. One can’t deny, of course, that these foods are quite delicious and can be eaten with great convenience. They are also available at a lower price.
It is a known fact that these foods have a negative impact on our health and can be addictive. By eating such foods regularly, kids can develop long-term health problems later in life. They include obesity and chronic illnesses. A single meal of fast food can add somewhere between 160 and 310 extra kilocalories. This is a lot more than the daily caloric intake for young children and teenagers.
In such situations, there are greater chances of developing osteoporosis and diseases related to vitamin deficiencies. The food coloring agents and unhealthy trans fats present in many fast foods adds to the health hazards. Besides, issues related to safety while preparing such foods must also be considered.
If fast foods are eaten more than three times a week, they increase the odds of atopic disorders. Some of the examples of such disorders are eczema and asthma. Eating junk food between 4-6 times a week would result in lower skills of math and reading in children.
Now, let’s go through some of the health hazards that children might develop after eating fast foods:
The desires of food in a child are changed by an overdose of calories, sugars, fats, and other carbohydrates. Such overdoses in repeated meals make it less likely that children would consume fruits, fibers, vegetables, and meat. This might increase the chances of developing constipation.
Excessive consumption of fast food during childhood makes it hard for children to eat healthy later in life. By the time these children reach adulthood, their medical problems would already be evident. The reason is that food habits formed during childhood are solidified by adulthood.
The taste of fast foods are very addictive. It is, therefore, unlikely that the palate will be satisfied with less spicy and complicated flavors of homemade food.
3. Poor academics
Regular consumption of fast food can seriously impact academic performance of children. This is owing to the high sugar levels impairing their concentration levels. It would become difficult for these children to complete certain tasks that require focused attention for a longer period. Fluctuations in blood sugar can also lead to mood swings, lack of alertness, and lower participation in the classroom.
4. Less energy
Regular intake of fast foods can inhibit the participation of these children in extracurricular activities. This is because fast foods don’t provide the necessary nutrients for physical activities. Lack of physical activities would keep children away from their peers. This might also impair their physical and mental health later on.
Obesity can lead to lower self-esteem in children and they might even go into depression. Depression can affect their growth and development leading to weakened social relationships and academic performance. It also increases the risk of developing suicidal tendencies.