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With the hectic lifestyle many adults and children lead, fast food is any easy solution to meal times. Unfortunately, many fast food chains offer high fat, high calorie foods that can lead to obesity. The PBS website states that the average American eats three hamburgers and four helpings of french fries each week. That's about 2,500 calories. Many children and adolescents do not realize how unhealthy fast food can be---or that it can lead to obesity and serious illness.
What Is Obesity?
According to the article "Too Much Fast Food Spells 'Fat Food'," a child is obese if he is 30 or more pounds above his ideal body weight. Thirty-five of every 100 U.S. children are obese or overweight. Dr. David Satcher, the U.S. Surgeon General, says that obesity in children is an epidemic. "We see a nation of young people seriously at risk of starting out obese and dooming themselves to the difficult task of overcoming a tough illness," he says.
How Fast Food Can Cause Obesity
CBS News explains that children who eat fast food consume more fats, calories, sugars and carbohydrates than children and adolescents who do not eat fast food regularly. In fact, fast food loving kids eat 187 more calories per day---that's about 6 lb. gained per year. In addition, they tend to eat less fruit and vegetables. Not only can lack of fruit and vegetables lead to obesity, kids who do not eat enough vegetables can develop heart disease and diabetes.
Why Do Children Eat Fast Food?
The article "Fast Food for Children and Adolescents" says that many households find it more convenient to eat fast food. This is especially true in a generation of longer work hours and families where the mother and father work outside of the home. Research conducted by the National Restaurant Association states that around 30 percent of U.S. children and adolescents eat fast food twice a week. Fast food advertisements are often aimed directly at children, making them desire fast food even more.
Children and adolescents who are obese can find it difficult to engage in daily activities such as moving from place to place, climbing up stairs or even breathing. Many doctors are discovering that obese children are more prone to medical issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. The PBS website advises that these conditions can even occur in the teenage years. Another effect of obesity is a fatty liver, which can result in liver disease.
Healthier Fast Food Choices
The HelpGuide website suggests that parents should help children pay close attention to items on a fast food menu. Foods that have sauces or are labeled as deep fried, battered or crispy are more than likely high in fat and should be avoided. Chose water instead of soda---soda pop can have as much as 425 calories in it. Order smaller portion sizes. Most restaurants offer double portion sizes that add up to double the calories. When ordering a dessert, opt to share with a friend instead of eating it alone.
The purpose of the article you just read is to…
Inform the reader of the history of fast food in our country
Entertain the reader with a story about overweight people
Inform the reader of how fast food can cause obesity
Persuade the reader to stop eating fast food
What does the author suggest parents should do to avoid obesity in their children?