World Health Day is Monday, April 7, 2014. Do your part this year by educating yourself and your children or your students about the immediate effects that fast food has on kids and work to decrease their intake accordingly.
Humans are hard wired to crave high calorie foods in order to survive. As such, junk food has an addictive nature because it has large quantities of sugar, salt and fats. These ingredients activate dopamine in the brain which results in more cravings for junk food. Additionally, children who eat fast food consume fewer nutrients and more calories for the remainder of the day.
Immediate arterial damage
It is well established that junk food is harmful for the arteries when it comes to long-term health. More recent studies have found that the damage can start on the very day that a person eats a fast food meal. Within just a couple hours, the arteries may dilate as much as 24 percent less than they would normally.
Brings about depression, irritability and constipation
Junk food is high in sugar and low in antioxidants, healthy fats and fiber. When kids have fluctuating blood glucose levels and low positive energy, they may be sleepy, edgy, irritable or depressed. Without sufficient fiber levels, they are also highly susceptible to constipation. Under any of these conditions, children have no motivation to be active, which can be detrimental to their general health as well as their school work.
The bottom line is that in order to improve children’s health, you must avoid fast food restaurants as much as possible. Eat most of your meals at home, and make smart choices when planning meals and snacks. When you do eat out, select healthier restaurants and order nutritious meals.
Dorothy Hastings is the Director of First School, which are three preschool and child care centers located throughout Southern California. First School provides a hands-on approach to preschool education and Child Care Programs that emphasizes all around child development. In addition to their intuitive academic approach, First School also focuses on developing a child’s social skills and self-confidence, which is made possible in their intimate learning atmosphere.