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EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ON CHILDREN’S HEALTH

Fast food consumption is steadily rising in both developed and developing countries. Dining out has become increasingly popular globally. For a long and healthy life, good nutrition and proper food are vital. But most of the children have developed bad eating habits in recent years, which have a severe impact on their health.

It is stated that food items that can be prepared easily, quickly, ready to use meal and sold in restaurants are called fast food. Fast food items include: pizza, burger, sandwich, nuggets, chips, fried fish or chicken and french fries. In other words, fast food is nutrient-deficient but calorie-dense food. Mineral, vitamin, fiber and amino acid deficiencies are all examples of nutrient deficiencies.

Negative Aspects of Junk Food

Daily fast food consumption causes long-term health issues including obesity, emotional, self-esteem issues and chronic illnesses later in life. For children, a single fast food meal can contribute 160 and 310 more calories to their daily caloric intake, respectively. Deficiency of vitamin A and C as well as mineral deficiencies such as magnesium and calcium, promote the development of deficiency disorders and osteoporosis, as well as dental cavities due to increased sugar consumption.

Atopic Illnesses

Fast food consumption of more than three times per week is linked to an increased risk of atopic illnesses such as asthma, eczema, and rhinitis, with asthma severity being over 40% higher in teenagers and more than 25% higher in younger children. Daily consumption severely attacks on children’s learning skills.

Digestive problems

Irritable bowel syndrome and gastro-esophageal reflux illness are common in children who are hooked to junk foods. Because fatty foods are deep fried, the oil utilized drips into the stomach’s lining, increasing acid production. Spices accumulated in this area irritate the stomach lining, making digestion more difficult. Because junk foods have a low fiber content, problems like hemorrhoids and constipation become more common.

Decreased sugar level

High levels of refined sugar can be found in a variety of junk meals, putting a strain on children’s metabolism. Because fattened foods are deficient in carbs and proteins, blood sugar levels decrease sharply after ingestion. This situation will make you crave junk food more frequently. A week of constant junk food consumption is enough to activate memory deterioration, and the presence of fat content decreases the ability to learn new abilities.

Addiction

Eating a lot of fast food as a kid makes it difficult to eat properly later in life, even if medical problems are already present, because childhood eating patterns are hard to break by adulthood. Fast food’s addicting flavor makes it unlikely that the palate will subsequently appreciate the simpler and less spicy flavors of regular food.

Low energy level

Fast food might make it difficult to participate in extracurricular activities since it lacks the nutrients necessary for physical activity. Physical inactivity pulls children out of peer groups while also affecting their physical and mental health.

Hyperactivity

Fast foods are frequently deficient in essential fatty acids. These contain omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are not manufactured by the body but are necessary in high concentrations in the brain and retina for the synthesis of cell membranes. It’s hypothesized that a deficiency of these nutrients is linked to increased antisocial behaviour and maybe hyperactivity.

Fatigue and paleness

Vitamins and proteins, which are the most desired and helpful components for a healthy body, are not found in junk meals. All of the body’s systems function abnormally as a result of this. Children may feel full and content after eating, but they become frail and depleted after a while. They may develop chronic ailments later in life. Because junk food quickly depletes one’s energy level, daily activities can become a difficult chore for them.

Dn.Asma Abdul Rehman has completed her M.Phil degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (2021) and now she is working as a lecturer at Saint marry college of advance studies Gujranwala. She can be reached at @asma_warraich_.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.

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