Why Is Fast Food Dangerous for Growing Children?

Children who eat three or more servings of fast food per week have an increased risk for developing chronic health conditions. Young children consuming a lot of fast food have a 27 percent chance of developing asthma, while 39 percent of teens who often eat fast food have the same risk, according to Harvard Health Publications.

Eating fast food may also put children at risk of developing the skin condition eczema and rhinitis, which causes a stuffy nose. The greatest risk to the health of children because of fast food consumption is obesity. Compared with home-cooked meals, fast food meals add up to 160 calories to the total calorie intake of a child per day. This troubling statistic is one reason why obesity rates in children worldwide are skyrocketing.

Fast food, such as hamburgers, French fries and soda, contain high levels of fat and sugar. For example, popular hamburger selections typically contain 700 to 800 calories. Burgers are often eaten along with 400 calorie fries. Parents may find it difficult to get their children to completely give up eating fast food. They can instead help kids make better choices, such as choosing lower-calorie menu items. Reducing the number of meals eaten at fast food restaurants is another way to cut back on calories and fat.