Danger of Fast Food on Overweight Children

Who are overweight?

Overweight can be defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex. The weight of a child is calculated using the Body mass index (BMI). It is used to measure and determine if the child is overweight and obese.

BMI is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters. For children BMI is age- and sex-specific and is often referred to as BMI-for-age. A Childs body composition varies as they age and it also varies between boys and girls.

Being overweight escalates a child's danger for a number of diseases and conditions. These includes:

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Gallstones
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood
  • Liver Problems
  • Menstrual Problems
  • Trouble Sleeping

Fast Food

Fast foods are considered as fast, simply available and low-priced substitutes to home-cooked meals, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They also tend to be high in soaked with fat, sugar, salt and calories. According to the NIH, few fast food chains has acted to growing public knowledge about nutrition by offering food that is lower in fat and calories than their normal fare.

List of different fast food in the UK

  • McDonald's
  • Subway
  • Starbucks
  • Burger King
  • Pizza Hut
  • KFC
  • Domino's Pizza
  • Papa John's
  • Wimpy

Reasons for buying Fast Food and its Risk

Reasons why people buy fast food

  • Quick
  • Easy to find
  • Like the taste of fast food
  • They're inexpensive
  • Too busy to cook
  • It is a form of treat for them
  • Don’t like to prepare foods
  • It is a way of socializing with friends and family
  • They are fun and entertaining

Key facts about Fast Food

  • It saves time
  • Fast food is food that is prepared and served at a fast-food restaurant or shop at low cost.
  • Fast food is often processed and prepared in an industrial fashion (i.e., with standard ingredients and methodical cooking and production method).
  • It is served usually in bags or cartoons in a manner in order to save costs.
  • Fast food is usually finger food that can be eaten quickly and without cutlery needed (using bare hand).
  • Fast food often offers fish and chip, sandwiches, hamburger, french fries, chicken nuggets, pizza, and ice cream. Other easily consumed choices like, mashed potato, or salads.

Side Effects Of Fast Food On Children

  • Adverse Mental Health
  • Lack of Energy and Focus
  • Nutrient Deficiency
  • Obesity
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Low Self Esteem
  • Peptic Ulcer
  • Diabetes
  • Memory Issues
How can You help your overweight Child?

Why should I be concerned?

You should be concerned if your child has extra weight because weighing too much may increase the chances that your child will develop health problems now or later in life.Children who are overweight are at higher risk of entering adulthood with too much weight. The chances of developing health problems such as heart disease and certain types of cancer, this are seen higher among adults with too much weight.

How can I help my child develop healthy habits?

You can play an important role in helping your child build healthy eating, drinking, physical activity, and sleeping habits. Teach your child about balance diet, the amount of food and beverages he or she eats and drinks with his or her amount of daily physical activity. Also take your child grocery shopping and let him or her choose healthy foods and drinks, and help plan and prepare healthy meals and snacks. Other ways to help your child develop healthy habits:

  • Be a good role model by Consume healthy foods and drinks.
  • Talk with your child about what it means to be healthy and how to make healthy decisions.
  • Discuss how physical activities and certain foods and drinks may help their bodies get strong and stay healthy.
  • Children should get at least an hour of physical activity daily
  • Limit the time they spend on the screen (television, ipads, computers and mobile devices)
  • Make sure you child gets enough sleep. Children are good learners, and they often copy what they see.

What can I do to improve my child’s eating habits?

Besides consuming fewer foods, drinks, and snacks that are high in calories, fat, sugar, and salt. The government together with the health sector has been able provide a guide to help both parents and children on what amount of the food group to eat to archive a healthy balanced diet. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/the-eatwell-guide.aspx

You also may help your child eat better by trying to

  • Avoid serving large portions or the amount of food or drinks your child chooses for a meal or snack. Start with smaller amounts of food and let your child ask for more if he or she is still hungry.
  • Put healthy foods and drinks where they are easy to see and keep high-calorie foods and drinks out of sight or don’t buy them at all.
  • Eat fast food less often. If you do visit a fast-food restaurant, encourage your child to choose healthier options, such as sliced fruit instead of fries. Also,
  • Introduce your child to different foods, such as hummus with veggies.
  • Try to sit down to family meals as often as possible, and have fewer meals in a hurry.
  • Discourage eating in front of the television, computer, or other electronic device.

To help your child develop a healthy attitude toward food and eating:

  • Offer rewards other than food or drinks when encouraging your child to practice healthy habits.
  • Promising them dessert for eating vegetables sends a message that vegetables are less valuable than dessert.

Healthy snack ideas

When having packed lunch for your child, instead of putting in snacks like candy, cookies, and other unhealthy snacks, try these healthier snack options instead:

  • Air-popped popcorn without butter
  • Fresh, frozen, or fruit canned in natural juices,
  • Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
  • Fresh vegetables, such as baby carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, or cherry tomatoes
  • Whole-grain cereal with fat-free or low-fat milk,

How can I help my child be more active?

Children need about 60 minutes of physical activity a day, although the activity doesn't have to be all at once. Several short 10- or even 5-minute spurts of activity throughout the day are just as good. Try to make physical activity fun for your child. If your child is not used to being active, encourage him or her to start out slowly and build.

To encourage daily physical activity:

  • Let your child choose a favorite activity to do regularly, such as climbing a jungle gym at the playground or joining a sports team or dance class.
  • Help your child find simple, fun activities to do at home such as playing tag, jumping rope, playing catch or shooting baskets.

Where can I go for help?

If you have tried to change your family's eating, drinking, physical activity, and sleep habits and your child has not reached a healthy weight, ask your child’s health care professional about other options. He or she may be able to recommend a plan for healthy eating and physical activity, or refer you to a weight-management specialist or a registered dietician, your local hospital, a community health clinic, or health department. There could also be offered weight-management programs for children or information about where you can enroll in one.


  • GOV.uk (2015) Childhood Obesity: Applying All Our Health - GOV.UK (online) available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/childhood-obesity-applying-all-our-health/childhood-obesity-applying-all-our-health (30 April 2017)
  • Hellesvig-Gaskell, K. (2009) Definition Of Fast Foods (online) available at http://www.livestrong.com/article/49366-definition-fast-foods/ (2 May 2017)
  • Hitti, M. (2008) Top 11 Reasons For Fast Food's Popularity (online) available from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/news/20081202/top-11-reasons-for-fast-foods-popularity (2 May 2017)
  • Krekow, S. (2012) The Top 50 Fast-Food Joints (online) available at http://www.esquire.com/food-drink/restaurants/a15120/biggest-fast-food-11215111/ (2 May 2017)
  • Momfo1 (2015) 9 Deadly Side Effects Of Junk Food On Kids (online] available at https://parentinghealthybabies.com/9-deadly-side-effects-of-junk-food-on-kids/ (2 May 2017)
  • NHS Choice (2015) The Eatwell Guide - Live Well - NHS Choices (online) available at http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/the-eatwell-guide.aspx (2 May 2017)
  • Pietrangelo, A. and Carey, E. (2015) 13 Effects Of Fast Food On The Body (online) available at http://www.healthline.com/health/fast-food-effects-on-body (2 May 2017)
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