Some of the side effects of junk food in kids can include adverse mental health, lack of energy and focus, nutrient deficiency, obesity, respiratory diseases, low self esteem, peptic ulcers, diabetes and memory issues.
Junk food has become a way of life. It’s almost taking over normal, healthy food. In some homes, it has already become a staple diet. It’s not only a children’s favorite, but even elders often prefer junk food over healthy and nutritious food. There are parents, who are completely fine with their kids chowing down on junk food, mainly because they don’t know the consequences of eating junk food.
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Unfortunately, parents blindly follow the crowd and allow their kids to consume junk. The worst part is that most school canteens serve nothing but junk food, usually leaving the child with no option. All types of junk food, be it burgers, chips, French fries and coke – give you nothing but a future full of health issues. With the number of diseases associated with a diet of this sort, junk food is truly a widespread epidemic.
9 Deadly Side Effects Of Junk Food On Kids
Here are 9 deadly side effects of junk foods on kids that parents should be aware of.
1. Adverse Mental Health
A study published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry concluded that the diet of both the pregnant mother and child after birth can have an effect on the mental health of the child. A diet high in unhealthy junk food and low in nutrient-rich food was linked to behavioral and emotional problems, including anxiety and depression.
2. Lack of Energy and Focus
According to the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, diet has a profound effect on a child’s study habits. Junk food not only depletes energy levels, it also hampers concentration and focus. And, both energy and focus are crucial for school going children. Eating junk food does not provide the necessary nutrients children need for their daily routine and all round development.
3. Nutrient Deficiency
As mentioned earlier, junk food gives you nothing but empty calories. It is devoid of nutrients. So, the calories that kids consume translates to a weight gain and hordes of health issues due to nutritional deficiency. Consuming junk food regularly can result in malnutrition in your child, leading to health issues like fatigue, anemia and insomnia.
A study published in Pediatrics in 2004 found fast food consumption among kids was linked to many dangerous precursors for obesity. According to this study, kids, who consumed fast food, were more likely to take in more calories, fat, carbohydrates and added sugars in a single fast food meal. Such kids are less likely to enjoy fruits, veggies, milk and fiber compared to kids who do not indulge in fast food. The calories, fat, carbs and sugar that kids get from junk food result in weight gain, ultimately leading to obesity. The junk food culture has been blamed for obesity epidemic among modern-day kids.
5. Respiratory Disorders
When a child gets obese, it leads to respiratory problems. That is obese children complain of shortness of breath and wheezing after little exertion. A child who has respiratory issues will not be active and miss out on physical activity. And, reduced physical activity means more weight gain and more respiratory problems – a vicious cycle.
6. Low Self Esteem
We all know how self conscious present day kids are. When a child becomes obese, it can result in image issues, resulting in low self esteem. And, low esteem can lead to depression and also have an adverse effect on the child’s performance in school and ability to make friends. Together, these issues can be devastating, as it can sometimes lead to suicide.
7. Peptic Ulcer
A peptic ulcer is a type of oozing sore that occurs in the gastrointestinal tract. It is extremely painful. Fast foods can result in peptic ulcers in kids. Health care practitioners believe stress, spicy food and alcohol are the most common causes for peptic ulcers along with junk food.
Today, Type II diabetes has become very widespread among kids, and health care professional blame the rising junk food culture for this. If children keep consuming calorific fast foods, it results in chronic ailments like diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states if this trend of fast food continues, by 2050, one in three adults in America will have Type II diabetes. Diabetes causes disability and can also result in premature death.
9. Memory Issues
Junk food also adversely affects your brain’s synapses as well as the molecules associated with memory and learning, as per a study published in Nature, a scientific journal. Animal tests have shown a similar result. Rats fed a steady diet similar to junk food for a few days were unable to complete a maze they had previously mastered. This led researchers to surmise that junk food could cause a similar problem in kids and adults.
It is okay to have junk once in a while, but not on a daily basis. As a responsible parent, you should be aware of the harmful effects of junk food and take measures today to prevent your child from consuming it. Kids have different nutritional needs and you should prepare food that meets those needs. This is the only way to have a healthy child.