Have you ever noticed your child craving something sweet and sugary right after lunch? Do they often order pizzas or a bag full of chips? Junk food can be appealing for a variety of reasons, including convenience, price and taste. For children, who do not always understand the health consequences of their eating habits, junk food may appear especially appetizing. However, regularly consuming fattening junk food can be addictive for children and lead to complications like obesity, chronic illness, low self-esteem and even depression, as well as affecting how they perform in school and extracurricular activities.
How does this affect your child?
Energy and Focus
Junk food and foods with high sugar content deplete energy levels and the ability to concentrate for extended periods of time.
Energy and focus are especially crucial for school-age children. Children set the foundation for lifelong habits in their youth, making junk food particularly hazardous to their well-rounded development.
Physical activity is also essential for children of all ages, and regularly eating junk food does not provide the necessary nutrients children need for sufficient energy to engage in physical activity.
A study published in “Pediatrics” in 2004 found fast-food consumption in children was linked with many dangerous precursors for obesity. According to this study, kids who ate fast food were more likely to consume a higher amount of calories, fat, carbohydrates and added sugars in one fast food meal.
Experts blame junk food for rising rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. Increasing rates of chronic illness affect children who regularly consume junk food.
Self-Esteem and Depression
Self-esteem and confidence in oneself are especially important to growing children, and regularly consuming junk food can negatively impact this sense of self.
According to experts, junk food can affect a child’s physical development in detrimental ways, including unhealthy weight gain, which can result in self-esteem problems. Low self-esteem can lead to consequences like depression.