By Gowhar Rashid
I remember the days of my childhood when I got my father’s everyday pocket money for a rupee coin and that tiny amount I used to spend on purchasing pencils, sharpeners, and other paperwork for my studies. I had very little knowledge of money or anything in life, but I still spend the coin on my studies efficiently and carefully. When my maternal grandmother visited our house, the more exciting part was the ten rupees that I got from her for each visit. I usually built castles in the air where and when I spent this big amount, and my mother took that money at the last moment so that I couldn’t waste it on needless things. The role of parenting is very crucial in every child’s life. Now the time has changed, money is easily available to the children that have spawned and drenched them in new habits one of them is changing food habits from nutritious food to junk or fast food like pizzas, burgers, rolls, etc. Now the question arises what makes it junk. When comparing healthy food and junk food, fast food barely has any nutrition but some specific ingredients end up making it junk. Nowadays every locality has junk food outlets exhibiting pizzas, burgers, French fries, chips, and rolls, etc. well it tastes amazing but it’s detrimental to health. Children suddenly seem to have stepped into a world of fast foods and vending machines, totally oblivious of the catastrophe they are creating for themselves.
What junk food usually contains:
- Additional sugar
Various junk food products contain colors, flavors, and sugars make them appear appealing and taste delicious. Besides, these are commonly mixed with aerated drinks that have the same constituents in them as well. These combine altogether to form a huge amount of added sugar that is not healthy for the body.
- Unhealthy Fats
All the food products that fast-food restaurants sell, including burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, and so on, usually have several layers of cheese in them to make their food products drool-worthy. Some of the products come with mayonnaise or provide it for flavoring as a separate dip. A significant number of them are fried in oil. Both of these factors contribute to the fat content of food products, most of which are not appropriate for daily or overconsumption use by children.
- Processed Substances
There are hardly any fibrous elements in fast food and none of the other nutrients that are required to give the body the necessary energy. And children will eat them in large quantities because of the absence of fiber in the food.
Harmful Effects of Junk Food on Children
Consumption of such junk food can be very dangerous to children and lead to adverse effects.
1.Comprehension Speed Reduction:
For a while, fast food just serves to fill the stomach and rarely does anything to help improve alertness. This results in adolescents when engaged in activities, generally losing attention, struggling to remember things for a long time, and generally being poor at learning.
- Heart Complications
They contain large portions of cheese and other fatty ingredients. These play a key role in growing the body’s presence of cholesterol that starts to deposit along the artery lines. Later in life, habitual consumption of junk food can cause heart-related issues.
- Issues of Digestion
Due primarily to the high prevalence of processed food products that lack any necessary nutrients, mainly fiber, junk food is junk This makes digestion difficult as well as restricts proper bowel movement. Many of these are responsible for the development of constipation or any other conditions linked to the gut as well.
- Obesity risk and other disorders
Owing to the presence of fatty substances used in it, the addictive flavor and delicious taste of junk food. Such fats are simply stored in the body but do not provide fast energy, making kids lethargic. The body’s inactivity in the early stages of childhood lays the very basis for a child being obese and later having body image problems. These kinds of things in girls give rise to hormonal imbalance and contribute to PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome)
- Diabetes risk
Sugar levels in junk foods and the drinks that accompany them are the highest. This affects the liver directly, causing problems with insulin secretion and may also lead to type II diabetes very early in life.
- Problems with Kidney
The rise in fat and cholesterol puts pressure on the heart, which also leads to higher blood pressure. As a consequence, this affects the function of the kidney, resulting in water accumulation within the body due to elevated sodium levels.
- Lower EQ
The presence of sugar and several other flavoring agents in a young child starts to influence the hormones that thrive. This results in severe mood swings for adolescents, often culminating in tantrums or even depression.
Western culture is swallowing our new generation and every parent has to tune their children in the right direction.
Rightly said by the Allama Iqbal(R.A)
Yahe daras deta hai hume har shaam ka suraj
Maghrib ke taraf javoge tou dhoob javoge
Gowhar Rashid is a PhD Scholar, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, SKIMS, Srinagar