Over the years fast food has changed a lot, especially the menu. In addition to the usual burgers and fries, most restaurants are now offering healthier options like wraps, salads, fruit and yogurt.
Despite those healthier options, kids are eating fast food more often.
According to a recent survey, it’s actually not making much of a difference and local health officials fear it’s only adding to fight against childhood obesity.
“Unfortunately childhood obesity is getting out of control,” said Clinical Nutritionist DR. Armon Shayesteh.
According to Dr. Shayestah a lot of that is fueled by the lack of parents taking advantage of the healthier menu options offered at fast food restaurants across the nation.
The numbers are staggering. 18.5 percent of kids ages 2 to 19 are either overweight or obese.
“We’re talking about almost 14 million kids,” Dr. Armon Shayesteh said.
A recent study looked into the trend of kids’ eating habits from the nation’s four largest fast-food chains.
For the report, researchers surveyed 800 parents in 2010, 2013, and 2016 about what they ordered for their 2- to 11-year-old child in the past week.
91% said fast food.
“That’s why we’re dealing with childhood obesity. These sugars and these fried foods, fast foods are addicted,” Dr. Armon Shayesteh said.
Other research has shown that eating highly processed foods like those served in fast food restaurants has been linked to a number of negative health issues.
“High blood pressure, cholesterol, increased of heart disease insulin resistant, type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Armon Shayesteh said.
And the list goes on.
Dr. Shayestah says the culture of healthy eating has to start with the parent.
“All the nutrition changes have to come from inside the family. We can’t have a double standard. Somebody cannot eat cookies, candy and drink pop and expect their kids to drink water. It just doesn’t work,” Dr. Armon Shayesteh said.
He says the best option is to plan meals and snacks ahead of time, especially if your family is always on the go.
“Fresh fruits, cut vegetables, nuts and seeds and yogurt and even a slice of fat-free cheese. These are all awesome snacks for the kids, loaded with nutrients and the calories they need because they’re growing,” he said.