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What Fast Food Does to Our Kids' Health

By Sandy Schroeder

As the year moves forward and we become busier, it’s easy to rely on fast food for quick lunches or easy dinners; however, we should be aware of the health effects.

SAHM.org pointed this our for parents recently, zeroing in on some of the significant health dangers. The stay-at-home mom site reminded us that one fast food lunch can deliver almost all of the calories and fat that we should have for the whole day. So what happens if we eat fast food twice a day, or several times a week? Here are some of the penalties.

Obesity soars– As fast food doubles, or even triples the calories of normal meals, both adults and kids can pay the price with obesity. Almost 70 percent of all Americans are now overweight or obese, according to Forbes.com.

Stroke risk goes up – High blood pressure and high cholesterol can block arteries and trigger strokes. High sodium and fats in fast food can increase obesity raising blood pressure and increasing cholesterol levels.

Diabetes risk – Type 2 diabetes has been linked with fast food that is high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates. Researchers say people who eat fast food at least twice a week are twice as likely to encounter insulin resistance leading to diabetes.

Heart attack risk – Saturated and trans fats that flood the fast food market can be major contributors to blocked arteries that lead to coronary artery disease, angina (heart pain) and heart attacks. Using healthy oils such as olive oil for cooking and salad dressings can help to lower the risk of heart attack for the whole family.

High sodium risk – Most fast food meals come with a heavy dose of salt. A large order of french fries may deliver as much as 30 percent of the daily sodium requirement. When you eat less fast food, your taste for salt often drops too.

Loss of good nutrients – When burgers or fries take over, the amount of fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts usually drops, reducing the amount of vitamins and minerals in the diet and increasing health risks.

Establishing lifetime habits – Along with all of the immediate health effects, kids who learn to love fast food at an early age may cling to that habit the rest of their lives.

Holding fast food down to an occasional meal instead of letting it become a regular habit could help kids stay slimmer and healthier as they enjoy a diet filled with fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts and lean meats.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Saint Peters, Mo. 

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