Fast Food Leads to Childhood Obesity
1.0 Introduction to Fast Food
When people all over the world are looking for a quick, easy meal to grab on the go, fast food is the common solution. So, what is fast food? Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. The term "fast food" was recognized in a dictionary by Merriam Webster in 1951.While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customers. With the efficient service, low prices and casual atmosphere, fast food seems like the ideal choice. Fast food restaurants usually have a walk up counter or drive-thru window where you order and pick up your food. Nowadays, fast food restaurants are popular because they serve filling foods that taste good and don’t cost a lot of money. However, fast food is usually cheap because it’s often made with ingredients such as high fat meat, refined grains, and added sugar and fats, instead of nutritious foods such as lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the popular and recognizable fast food outlets are McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC, Dunkin Donuts and many more. Fast food costs relatively little and tastes good, but the negative effects on physical health last much longer than these immediate concerns. Fast food comes with high-calorie meals come fat, cholesterol, salt and sugar and therefore fewer vitamins, minerals and other nutrients compared to healthier foods. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for American reports that these eating habits create nutritional deficiencies along with weight gain. The health problems that stem from overweight and obesity alone can severely limit lifestyles and shorten life spans. Chubby can be cute, but not healthy of course. Do you know that childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, obesity and overweight has more than doubled since 1980 and are linked to more deaths that underweight. Nearly 43 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2012. Close to 35 million of them live in developing countries while eight million in developed countries. Back on our home front, the number of overweight and obese children in Malaysia is simply shocking. Childhood obesity levels in Malaysia are higher than in most Asian countries, and the problem is getting worse, says Professor Dr. Norimah A.Karim, vice-president of the Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity (MASO). Data from various research groups have indicated that as many as 15% of toddlers and preschool children in the country could be overweight and obese whereas among primary school children, 30% of them could be overweight and obese. These statistics should come as no surprise. We can make our own personal observations when we go for shopping malls and eateries around the country. Notice the number of overweight children and youngsters? If parents and children don’t watch what they eat, the number of overweight or obese children will continue to increase, even to epidemic proportions. 1.1 Factors Contributing to Childhood Obesity
There are several reasons why children are becoming obese. Studies have shown that the major causes of childhood obesity in Malaysia due to potential interest of food availability, children’s lifestyle and eating behaviours. According to Dr. Tee E Siong, president of the Nutrition Society of Malaysia (NSM), the “fat phenomenon” in our country can be attributed to a combination of poor eating habits, a diet high in calories, and a decline in physical activity, resulting in more caloric intake than is required by the body. In addition, more meals eaten away from home, fewer family meals, and greater portion sizes may also have contributed to childhood overweight. Today’s world is extremely...