Most parents of young children claim to love their children and want them to grow up to be happy, healthy adults. They claim they would do almost anything needed to make that happen. However the actions of many parents would contradict that statement.
We are facing a national health crisis. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension are killing us. We have the facts and findings of research to tell us what is causing much of the problem- years of fast food consumption. We know that it is loaded with too much sugar, fat, and salt. Yet we continue to poison our children with it.
We have demanded that schools provide better nutrition for our children. We have held them accountable for feeding students a more appetizing array of healthy foods, including more vegetables and fruits. Yet parents still have the option to arrive at school with their child clutching a bag of doughnuts or a lunch box containing a pre-packaged lunch of artificial food.
You can google “negative effects of fast food on children” and get your own information about the situation, but I found several studies to be particularly interesting. One found that for 30% of children fast food was their primary food source. Research has shown that children who eat fast food also eat more food at other times because of the big portions offered at fast food places (I refuse to call them restaurants), the development of a taste preference for salt and sugar, and the lack of fiber in fast food.
The most interesting study involved an experiment in the effects of “branding”. The food industry spends more than $10 million a year to market food to children so they will become lifelong consumers. Children as young as 2 can recognize the packaging used by their favorite fast food chain and the result is begging and nagging until they get their “happy” food! The study examined the influence of branding by offering preschool children McDonalds’ food in labeled and generic packaging. Most identified the labeled food as better!
Children do not walk themselves to these fast food chains. Parents take them there. The question is “why?”