Wafers, colas, chaats, samosas, puffs, pizza and burgers are suddenly the most important thing. Children suddenly seem to have stepped into a world of junk foods, totally unaware of the havoc they are creating for themselves.
Junk food addiction among city's children is gaining alarming proportions, which was found by a small random study across city schools in Mangalore and Udupi.
What children enjoyed the most about junk food was its taste. According to a research there were 71% of children who told it tastes good. Children like junk food because they get carried away by the advertisement and mass influence. Secondly, use of fat and oils is high-scale which makes the food crispy and crunchy.
Skipping the main meals of the day was found to be a common practice among many children; the main reason given by them was lack of time. There were many children who said that they would eat snacks during the morning break from the shops and small-time vendors near the school campuses, the most common snack consumed by the children was puffs and samosa.
Parents give pocket money to their children in different ways. Some give a lump sum at the beginning of the month or a week. Others prefer to give pocket money on a daily basis. Children usually use pocket money to buy food during recess and also at lunch hour. Excess of pocket money might lead to spending money by over-indulging in junk food.
Nowadays most of the mothers are on full-time job. As mothers have less time for cooking, families increasingly eat out or buy ready-made food. When parents are out, children are more likely to remain indoors watching TV or playing computer games while consuming junk food rather than playing outside burning calories.
Why junk food is dangerous?
Children are vulnerable. Poor diets can slow growth, promote obesity and sow the seeds of incurable diseases that ultimately could make life worse.
What can be done?
The first and the foremost step to be taken is to create awareness.
Nutritious and healthy food habits must be cultivated in children. Even parents and schools can play a part by imparting knowledge about nutrition.
Replacing junk food snacks with healthier options can be one great way to avoid eating junk food and staying healthy, lean and fit!