Poor health problems common in children
SUMMARY: Recent studies show the dramatic impact that eating unhealthy foods has on children and their overall wellbeing.
Posted: June 19, 2013
Remember when you were a child and eating junk food was no big deal? Children's metabolisms may be quicker, but that doesn't mean that they should be chowing down on greasy, unhealthy cuisine. According to a study conducted from 2008 to 2011, nearly 1,100 children between the ages of three and five were found to have higher blood cholesterol levels if they had a poor diet compared to those who ate healthier foods. But the bad side effects don't end there. Children who have an unhealthy diet are more prone to have bad breath and other oral health issues.
Researchers also found that children who watch television while snacking are less likely to pay attention to what they are eating, which can cause them to consume more calories than necessary. Instead, parents should make sure to have a designated mealtime where there are plenty of healthy options for them to choose from. Similarly, parents who exhibit good eating behaviors, such as consuming a large amount of vegetables and fruits, can encourage children to do the same.
Children who begin healthy habits when they are young are much more likely to continue those practices as they get older. Kids' oral health is another basic component of their overall wellbeing, which can be greatly influenced by the food they consume. For example, kids who snack on chips, cookies, pizza and fried foods will much more likely experience dental caries, bad breath and high levels of dental plaque. Bad breath in children can easily be alleviated with a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and a regular regimen of brushing, flossing and rinsing.
According to data from the World Health Organization Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative, one in three children between the ages of six and nine is either overweight or obese. This means that these kids are put at risk for a number of health issues, some of which include oral health problems. Several studies have found a link between heart disease and diabetes with an unhealthy mouth. However, most people consider these issues to be common in adults and not children.
"This study sort of augments the data and the growing evidence that diseases that we used to have only in adults is now moving into childhood - diabetes, heart disease, hypertension," Dr. Guido Filler, chief of pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of the London Health Sciences Centre, told the Calgary Herald. The doctor also added that nearly half of the children he sees are overweight and have high blood pressure. "So targeting preschool children is a very, very good idea. And it would make sense that behavior and nutritional intake are causing new problems that are potentially modifiable."
In a recent report on food advertisements, the WHO noted that food marketers are taking advantage of inexpensive outlets, such as social media, to target young children. No matter where children are, whether at school, in the home or at a sporting event, they are constantly met with advertisements promoting the consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods with little to no nutritional value. This is why it is so important for parents to encourage children to eat healthier options.
Researchers believe that children who are targeted are much more vulnerable to engaging in unhealthy behaviors, as they are not adequately educated on the dangers of the foods. Parents should take time to talk with their children about how certain items can influence their present and future wellbeing. If parents make their kids aware at a young age, they will be much less likely to continue with these habits into adulthood.