What is the Connection Between Fast Food and Childhood Obesity?

Patti Kate

The connection between fast food and childhood obesity is related to the effect fast food has on developing poor eating habits. This has been the subject of scientific studies and medical research. Studies point to a link between significantly overweight children and consumption of fast food meals and snacks on a regular basis. This is said to be primarily due to the sugar, salt, calories, and fat content of fast food.

A soda.
A soda.

Furthermore, studies also show that children who do not consume fast food more than occasionally have a healthier body weight and lower fat index. The connection between fast food and childhood obesity may also include a risk for other health issues, such as high blood sugar. Another connection between fast food and childhood obesity involves cardiac health, as obesity may significantly increase the risk for coronary heart disease that can develop in early years. Findings also show there may be an increased risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol among children who regularly eat fast food.

Fast food.
Fast food.

Fast food, such as hamburgers and fries, is typically the culprit leading to obesity among children and teenagers. The connection between fast food and childhood obesity may be linked to the saturated fat and excessive calories present many school lunches. There is a growing concern about the abundance of fast food being incorporated into school lunch programs. Nutritional surveys show that half of the schools across America serve fast food lunch items as part of the daily menu.

Oils from the deep fried food found at fast food restaurants can contribute to childhood obesity.
Oils from the deep fried food found at fast food restaurants can contribute to childhood obesity.

Experts believe a fundamental connection between fast food and childhood obesity may be rooted in media. When impressionable children see advertisements featuring their favorite celebrities or peers, they are likely to emulate what they see. According to experts, the message children may receive is that consuming fast food is socially acceptable, as physically fit models appear consuming this diet in commercials.

Eating unhealthy foods, like junk food, can cause obesity in people of any age.
Eating unhealthy foods, like junk food, can cause obesity in people of any age.

Some experts believe that children who consume fast food regularly not only are more prone to obesity, they may also be at risk for developing juvenile diabetes. Sugar is present in ketchup and in the sweet desserts found in many fast food items, such as cookies, pies, milkshakes, and ice cream. Another connection between fast food and childhood obesity is the added sugar and calories found in soft drinks and in many of the juice boxes served with fast food.

Fast food has the added benefit of no prep time for parents with busy schedules.
Fast food has the added benefit of no prep time for parents with busy schedules.
Children who consume fast food may be more prone to obesity and juvenile diabetes.
Children who consume fast food may be more prone to obesity and juvenile diabetes.
Instead of fast food, children should eat a healthier diet, consisting of foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Instead of fast food, children should eat a healthier diet, consisting of foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Those that eat fast food regularly are more prone to obesity.
Those that eat fast food regularly are more prone to obesity.
High calorie snacks contribute to childhood obesity.
High calorie snacks contribute to childhood obesity.

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