What Are The Effects Of Eating Junk Food For Kids?
Kids should eat healthy, nutritious food to have a better future. Junk food harms a child’s health because of its lack of nutrients and high-calorie content. Most children are influenced by family members and friends who show them they should not eat healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grain bread. Instead, they should eat unhealthy foods like fast food, potato chips, and soda.
Children are very impressionable, and most have no idea what is in the food that they are eating. So, what are the effects of eating junk food for kids? Here are some of the effects of eating junk food for kids:
Obesity is a health condition in which a person’s body weight is very high. The primary cause of this condition is a diet high in calories and poor in fiber and other nutrients.
Junk food is full of calories and has little fiber. Because of this, kids who eat junk food are likely to become obese. The calories are converted into fat, which is stored in the body. This makes the person look fat.
This condition can be dangerous to a person’s health, mainly if it occurs in childhood and lasts into adulthood.
The main symptoms of obesity include shortness of breath, back pain, depression, and heart disease. It is estimated that over one billion people across the world are obese.
2. Poor growth and development
Eating a diet high in energy and low in nutrients causes a deficiency in the micronutrients necessary for effective growth.
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. These micronutrients help build strong bones, muscles, and organs while aiding in cell repair and regeneration.
Kids who eat a high-fat, high-sugar diet may have abnormal bone growth, stunted growth, and decreased muscle mass. Lower physical development can lead to learning disorders, social isolation, and low self-esteem.
Studies have shown that children who eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have better growth and development than those who eat junk food.
3. Digestion Complications
Digestion is the process by which food is broken down in the body. Eating a diet high in junk food causes digestion to slow down, causing stomach problems and indigestion. These problems can affect a child’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Another problem is constipation.
4. Dental Problems
Junk food causes tooth decay and cavities. Tooth decay is a dental health condition in which a tooth’s enamel is broken down and replaced with bacteria, causing an infection in the tooth’s pulp.
Cavities are holes that form when not properly cleaned and filled. This disease is painful and annoying. Some foods containing high amounts of sugar are soft drinks, sweets, and candy bars.
5. Type 2 diabetes
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists foods that raise the risk of diabetes. The same list includes fast food such as burgers, fries, and pizza.
This can be dangerous if not appropriately managed by following a healthy diet. Diabetes is a chronic medical condition in which the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. It is a severe disease that can cause significant damage to the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels.
This disease can lead to blindness, amputation, and even death for children.
6. Heart Complications
Eating high-fat foods increases the risk of heart disease. Heart disease is when the heart does not pump enough blood. This condition causes fluid buildup, making it difficult for the heart to work and sometimes leading to death.
The symptoms of heart disease vary from person to person, but they usually develop when the condition is severe and can potentially lead to death. Symptoms of heart disease include shortness of breath, chest pain, and dizziness. The early symptoms appear due to heart failure.
7. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a medical condition in which the blood moves through the arteries at extreme speed and pressure. This puts much stress on the organs and can cause fatal health problems such as strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure.
Kids who eat processed foods are at high risk of high blood pressure because they contain large amounts of salt, sugars, and fats that are not good for their health.
The CDC recommends that people consume less than 1500 mg of salt daily. Overeating salt causes the body to store more water, which increases blood pressure.
Reducing the amount of salt in one’s diet can cause blood pressure to lower and become healthier.
8. High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is made by the liver and helps produce vitamin D, testosterone, and bile acids.
Cholesterol is vital for growth and development. However, when it is found outside of the cells, it can cause problems.
High cholesterol causes fat to build up around the walls of blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease. Too much fat within blood vessels also raises blood pressure and puts extra strain on the heart.
The dietary changes that need to be made include reducing fat intake and increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
9. Kidney Problems
Kidneys play a vital role in the functioning of the body.
In kids, the kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood and removing waste products. Kidney problems caused by junk food are a leading cause of death for children, who die as early as seven years old.
The first symptoms of kidney problems include light-headedness, fatigue, and bloating but can quickly progress to sepsis, an infection of the blood. If a child has this condition, they may need immediate medical treatment to save their life.
The first symptoms of kidney disease include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
10. Poor Sleep Quality
Eating a high-fat diet can lead to insomnia, a condition in which one cannot fall asleep or has inconsistent sleep patterns.
Children who are obese are more likely to suffer from sleep problems as they have trouble moving around enough to allow their bodies to release the chemicals that promote sleepiness.
Some children even have restless leg syndrome, which causes them to shake or jerk their legs.
This can indicate sleep apnea, a condition in which the child stops breathing while sleeping and causes them to wake up in the middle of the night. For sleep apnea, your child may need a CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine to help them breathe during sleep.
You may speak to a Respiratory Therapist about sleep apnea and CPAP machines. The majority of my patients in the hospitals have breathing issues and many have CPAP machines to help them sleep due to sleep apnea.
Asthma is a chronic medical condition that causes inflammation and narrowing bronchial tubes, making breathing difficult. Asthma attacks may be triggered by various factors, including dust and pollen.
Overweight children are more likely to develop asthma due to breathing problems caused by excess weight. Therefore, children must eat healthy foods to prevent this condition from occurring. In some cases, a child may have an allergy to a food that causes them to have an asthma episode, so it would be essential to know if any allergies are affecting the child.
The best way to determine if a child has an allergy is by visiting a doctor. A Respiratory Therapist can also help you within the hospital, as I am an RT, with your asthma or respiratory issues.
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a condition that causes the child to be hyperactive, inattentive, or both.
The World Health Organization estimates that around 1 in 20 children have ADHD.
Eating junk food regularly can increase the risk of ADHD because it increases insulin levels, making it harder for the brain to produce dopamine. Dopamine is responsible for controlling attention and emotions.
Unbalanced dopamine levels can make it difficult for children to focus and have a stable mood.
13. Poor Skin
Skin problems are common in kids who eat junk food filled with artificial ingredients that lead to acne scars and dry skin.
Some children who eat a poor diet develop Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), which causes their facial muscles to weaken and temporarily become paralyzed. It usually occurs on one side of their face or body. The first symptoms of this condition include fatigue and sudden weakness.
To reduce the risk of developing adult-onset paralysis, kids must eat a healthy diet of whole foods. So eat good fats, not too much sugar, and processed foods.
14. Social Isolation
When kids eat junk food, they are less likely to be active outdoors and play with friends leading to social isolation. Social isolation is linked to depression and a lower quality of life.
Kids who have friends and participate in activities tend to have higher grades in school and better performance on standardized tests. Kids who eat junk food are more likely to develop a condition called psychogenic polydipsia, which is a condition in which the kid consumes unnatural amounts of water, causing them to urinate more often than usual.
15. Lower School Grades
Kids who eat junk food usually have lower grades in school, making it difficult to get into college or find a job. Their bodies are not as prepared for higher education and the workforce. Eating a poor diet of processed foods can lead to lower grades because it lowers their IQ and ability to learn critical thinking skills.
Kids who eat junk food are more likely to be obese, have a poor quality of life, have low grades in school, be socially isolated and develop psychogenic polydipsia. The foods kids should eat allow them to grow tall and robust such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Eating these foods will help them become healthy and active.