Junk Food Nation: How Parents Are Ruining Kids’ Health


Credit: Michelle Morton

Junk Food Nation: How Parents Are Ruining Kids’ Health

Health experts sayِ diets ofِ children inِ the United States haveِ deteriorated dramatically overِ the pastِ two generations, leading toِ skyrocketing rates ofِ obesity andِ diabetes, bothِ of whichِ put children atِ risk forِ other diseases andِ shorter lives.
But asِ many parents know, eating healthy isn’tِ alwaysِ easy, especiallyِ when you’reِ a mom ofِ three growing boys, saysِ Raleigh, N.C.-resident Michelle Morton.
But it’sِ challenging especiallyِ in theِ mornings, whenِ sheِ isِ trying toِ getِ allِ her kids outِ the door inِ time forِ school andِ not everyoneِ is a fan ofِ instant oatmeal.

The contributing factors

Today, 17 percent ofِ allِ kids andِ teens areِ obese, whichِ isِ triple theِ rate ofِ one generation ago, according toِ theِ Centers forِ Disease Control andِ Prevention.
The American diet isِ likely notِ helping any.
And thisِ isn’tِ a light topic: Obesity puts kids atِ higher risk forِ a slew ofِ health issues, including diabetes, heart disease andِ even cancer.

Fueled by junk

It’s notِ necessarily thatِ parents areِ trying toِ fatten theirِ kids upِ with junk food andِ fast food, saidِ Kennedy, theِ pediatric psychologist.
Rather, itِ hasِ to doِ with convenience andِ lack ofِ meal planning.
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Intervention programs

To optimize healthy eating habits among kids, it’sِ important theِ sameِ food rules apply bothِ atِ home andِ at school, Kennedy said.
A newِ study, presented thisِ month atِ a meeting ofِ the American Heart Association, showed thatِ school interventions duringِ sixth grade helped toِ keepِ kids’ cholesterol andِ resting heart rate downِ four years later.
The intervention included teaching kids toِ eat moreِ fruits andِ vegetables andِ less fatty foods, toِ choose lessِ sugary beverages, toِ exercise atِ least 150 minutes a week andِ to spend lessِ time inِ front ofِ the television andِ computer.