Study shows negative impact of increased intake of fast food

Researchers in the UK did a study to determine the impact of increased intake of “takeaway meals”.  In the US we would call these meals fast food.  Those that ate more of these meals had higher fat mass index, sum of skinfolds, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.  These children also tended to get more calories from fat than starch and protein, even when meals were not fast food.  Higher reported takeaway meal frequency was also associated with lower intakes of vitamin C, iron, calcium and folate.  While they did not see indications of Type II Diabetes in those who ate more fast foods, they postulate that it could happen in the future with continued consumption.  They postulate that efforts to reduce takeaway meal consumption in children could have both short and long-term health benefits.

We live in a society where convenience of food is more important than the healthiness of the food. We live very busy lives that almost require fast food.  If we even wanted to start to reduce fast food consumption, where would we start?

Ask these 5 questions and see what you can do to reduce your family’s fast food consumption.

  1. What triggers you to go through the drive through? What thoughts do you have about fast food/meal preparation?  Has it become a habit that after soccer you pull through the Chick-Fil-a line?
  2. How does your child feel after these meals? How does your child behave after these meals?  Does your child crave these foods and request similar foods when eating at home/school?
  3. Are there activities that you could remove from your child’s schedule that will allow more time for food preparation and family meals at home?
  4. What food prepping and planning could you do to reduce the trip through the fast food line? Could you keep a cooler in the car with veggies and hummus?  Chicken strips and veggies?  Apple with nut butter?  How can your kids be involved in the food preparation?
  5. Do you want to make any change here? What is your priority?  Does this matter to you enough to take action now?

These questions can help you become aware of your current behavior and how you got to be where you are.  Most families do not intend to eat fast food regularly – it often happens gradually, then you realize you are eating it weekly or even daily.

Be honest with yourself about what you are willing to do – what changes you are willing to make.  If you are ready to take action, pick one small change…that small change will make a big impact in the long run.  Teaching your kids this now will help them be healthier for a lifetime!


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