June 7, 2018
COIMBATORE: Junk foods can be appealing for a variety of reasons comprising convenience, price and taste. But children, who do not always understand the consequences of their eating habits, junk food may appear especially appetising, say experts.
“Consumption of junk food can lead to complications like obesity, chronic illness, low self-esteem and even depression as well as growth,” they said. Over the past few years, home-cooked food is swapped with quick fix snacks, chips and biscuits. Easy availability and low price are major causes for this junk food craze among children. “Over 40 per cent of children showed risk of hypertension, obesity and high blood sugar,” says pediatrician Dr D Ravi.
“Two out of every four kids among urban population suffer from the chronic diseases include Type 1 diabetes and sometimes can lead to stroke and cardiac diseases,” he adds.
Physician P Vinita says, “When food is absorbed by the intestine, it requires fibre and water to excrete. But they don’t have such nutrients which lead to poor digestion and irritable bowel syndrome.”
Teacher K Anand told The Covai Post, “In our school, we completely avoid the concept of canteen to inculcate healthy eating habits. Children are encouraged to bring homemade food and packaged foods are completely banned.”
Nutritionist Nataraj S says, “As per the schedule of lunch programme, we provide only nutritional foods such as eggs, dal and vegetables. Otherwise we let the children bring only homemade food.”
K Mukunth (name changed) of Grade XII said, “Junk food is available everywhere and banning packaged items and avoiding junk foods in only schools will not help. Parents should ensure that they provide us healthy food which tastes better than fast food.”
“Avoiding anything will only raise the curiosity. We have plenty of options in taking junk food. Instead, we need a shift in thinking and that starts from home with parents,” says A Sneha of Grade XI.
“Junk foods are high in fat, high in sugar and low in fibre,” say experts.