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Fast Food – The Key Aspect Driving Kids Towards Obesity

Fast food and children are inseparable. Yes, that’s the hard reality that we all need to accept. No matter how much you try to explain to your little ones the negative effect that fast food can have on their health, they would still prefer to munch on the same, as and when they get an opportunity. Convincing children to dump junk food is a task that’s easier said than done.

Though it is okay to have such food items occasionally, falling into their trap can negatively influence children’s health. A study conducted in 2019 stated that around 3.8 million children under age 5 were overweight or obese. The number is consistently increasing ever since. This is indeed a matter of concern, which needs to be addressed before it is too late.

So, what’s the right approach to deal with the problem? Can putting up strict restrictions on the intake of fast-food help resolve the problem? No! That would only end up instilling an even greater urge in the kids to grab and eat the fast food items as and when they get an opportunity.

At The Navyandhra School, one of the top 5 schools in Gurgaon, we believe that the best way to find the solution to any problem is to work out on its root cause. The same applies in this scenario as well. While no amount of scolding, spanking, or restrictions can help the kids to say no to fast food, what can come to your aid is calmly making them understand the short and long-term consequences they may have to face if they keep munching on too much of fast food.

One of such negative consequences of taking in fast food, which is also gaining a lot of attention from pediatricians lately, is the growing problem of childhood obesity. So today, in this article below, we will be shedding more light on what obesity in children looks like, what is its relation with fast-food intake, and what are the various ways that can be adopted to keep obesity at bay in children.

Understanding childhood obesity & its key contributing factors

Childhood obesity is basically a medical condition that affects children and adolescents alike. It can be described in terms of the Body Mass Index, also known as BMI, which is the first step towards assessing a child’s obesity levels. When a child’s BMI lies between 85% and 95%, the child can be said to be overweight. This stage demands result-oriented action. Ignorance at this stage leads to the BMI crossing 95%, which is the start of obesity and becomes a serious concern demanding immediate attention.

Many factors are responsible for obesity in children. While consumption of fast food is one of the major aspects driving children towards obesity, there are other contributing factors as well, such as following a poor lifestyle, inappropriate diet, very little physical activity, etc. In a few cases, genetic and hormonal parameters may also lead to obesity in children.

How to prevent children from getting into the trap of fast-food driven obesity?

Fighting obesity is more about taking preventive actions. That’s because once you reach that condition, coming back may not be easy. Thus, it is ideal to play safe than sorry.

So here, we would like to share with you certain important practices that would help you curb fast food intake in your kids and aid them to overcome the danger of getting obese.

  • Explain – Healthy can be tasty!

Most children turn to fast food purely because it is rich in taste. As parents, you can try to add high-in-taste flavors to regular home food. This would help children understand that healthy can be tasty too. In due course, children’s taste buds would make peace with your servings, and they would no longer want to munch on fast food.

 

Get creative with shapes, include a lot of colors, try out different herbs and seasonings to amp up the flavors, and all this will definitely catch your little one’s attention to healthy eating.

 

  • Lead by example

The first step to encourage children to give up fast food is for parents to start consuming healthy foods. If you as a parent are low on discipline and are often seen eating outside food that adds no nutritional value to your life, your child will follow suit and be misguided.

 

Contrary to this, if you spend time preparing food that not only brings a lot of color and vibrancy to the palate but is also high in nutrition quotient, it is not long before your child starts mimicking your habits as well. It’s simple – You keep yourself healthy, and you will soon find your little one following in your footsteps.

 

  • Take help of storytelling tactics

As parents, you must have tried to restrict fast food consumption for your child to prevent obesity. Amidst this, did you tell your child “why” and “what” made you do so? Did you speak about the health hazards that obesity gets along with it in the form of high cholesterol levels, risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and breathing issues? Thus, next time your child goes adamant about eating fast food, turn to storytelling. Younger children can be told about a character they follow, for instance, superman, who is strong purely because he never eats junk. Likewise, sports personalities make a good example for older children.

 

We all know how children idolize certain characters and personalities. Make use of this liking of theirs and tell them statements, like “Your Idol eats healthy food” and your child will not hesitate to assume the role.

 

  • Staying well-hydrated is the key

Just like most adults, children also find it difficult to differentiate between thirst and hunger pangs. Most times, all they need is water, but they end up grabbing a candy or ice cream, which in the long term leads to obesity. You can now play savior to your child by focussing on the need to stay hydrated.

 

We, at The Navyandhra School, recognized among the top 5 schools in Gurgaon, firmly believe that it is imperative to educate children about drinking enough water at regular intervals. They must be aware of the health benefits that the simple habit of drinking ample water can bring to them. Besides, they must also be highlighted the health concerns that dehydration can raise.

 

  • Help them develop a habit of reading food labels

Involving children in activities like grocery shopping or even engaging them in the kitchen can also work wonders in making them aware of the perilous side of fast food.

 

You just have to ask them to get into the habit of reading the food labels or the nutritional information written behind the food packets. Highlight to them the presence of refined sugars in food items, which is one of the central causes of obesity and other health issues.

 

Likewise, helping children get interested in kitchen activities will motivate them to come up with new, flavourful dishes each day, which are not just tasty but equally healthy. As time passes, their attachment towards fast food will reduce.

 

Remember – Raising health-conscious children needs efforts!

Yes, we understand how much you want your kids to say an immediate no to all those habits that might be affecting their health, be it about fast food or any other thing.  However, we, at The Navyandhra School, ranked among the top 5 schools in Gurgaon,   would like to suggest that while embarking with your efforts, it is important to keep in mind that it is quite natural for children to be drawn to fast food, especially with all the marketing and advertisements around them. Hence, the best way to help your child keep away from the obesity trap is to remain more available for them. Cook with them, have active kitchen days, and instill in them the element of fun in grocery shopping, and all this will help them understand the connection between health and food.

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