Monday, October 03, 2005

Kids Fried Junk Food Consumption Doubled

Is our kids' obsession with fried foods dooming them for obesity?

This Boston Herald column reports on a new study published in this week's issue of the Pediatrics journal that finds the number of children who are eating unhealthy fried junk foods has risen at an alarming rate.

Harvard Medical School researchers observed the height, weight, diet, and eating out habits of 14,355 children between the ages of 9 and 14 from 1996 through 1999. While 3.5 percent of the girls and 6 percent of the boys ate four to seven servings of fried food away from home each week at the beginning of the study, those numbers more than doubled to 7.5 percent for the girls and 12.7 percent for the boys by the end of the study. This is an alarming trend!

The children who eat these fried foods away from home are more likely to be obese, eat foods loaded with calories, saturated and trans fat, sugary soft drinks and processed meats. All of these factors contribute heavily to an obesity problem the government turns its head away from. This pathetic attempt to show they care is not nearly enough.

On the other hand, the study concludes that children need more home cooking to help them eat right to stay healthy and trim. The researchers say this new study cooberates an earlier study that showed children who eat at home more often are less likely to drink, smoke or do drugs. Call it the "Ozzie & Harriet" syndrome and it really works!

Of all the groups studied, the researchers aid girls 9 to 12 years old are the most likely to gain weight when they eat out.

The supposed focus of fast-food restaurants on offering healthy menu choices is just a smokescreen to make the public think they care about people's health, the researchers concluded. But they don't think these choices will last long if the consumer passes them up for the high-carb, fried foods that dominate their menus.

This study underscores the value of spending time together with your family. That may not sound like a plan for keeping your family's weight under control, but that very well could be one way parents can keep their kids from becoming overweight or obese.

Sure, it's convenient to stop by your local McDonald's and get some Happy Meals, but think about the consequences of doing that in a few years. Will all the physical problems associated with obesity, not to mention the tremendous emotional damage that comes on you when you are fat (for those of us who have been there, the painful memories of our youth can sometimes be haunting), it is best if we can stop it before it starts.

This one's a no-brainer. Sit down and eat with your kid at the supper table. You might just find that you will enjoy the quality family time, too!


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