The adolescent years are supposed to be a time when the brain develops as expected. Everyone wants their children to mature emotionally, physically, and academically. Recent research, however, reveals that the brain of children may be being hindered from developing as expected because of something as simple as fast food.
The journal Clinical Pediatrics reported recently that common fast foods are actually leading children to have lower test scores. Those who ate frequently at popular fast food places such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and similar places, were found to be more likely to test lower in key subjects like math, science and reading.
In the study, researchers chose to use 10-year-olds. They used 11,700 of them, and also considered other factors such as the economic situation of their family, their location, how active they were, and how much TV the children watched.
The study discovered that there was a direct correlation between lower grades and the amount of fast foods the children ate. Those who ate fast food between four and six times per week suffered scores that were 20 percent lower than those who ate no fast food.
The study looked at the children over a period of three years. They looked at how much fast food the children ate at age 10, and then at how much they ate three years later. A direct correlation was found between lower grades and the amount of fast food consumed. Even an increase of a small amount saw noticeable differences toward a downward trend in test scores.
The Prevention Institute revealed that most young people eat too much fats and sugars that comes from fast foods. They state that only 21 percent eat the right amount of fruits and vegetables.
One explanation given by the researchers is the strong possibility of a lack of iron in the children’s diet. Researching the nutrients of fast foods shows that they typically lack in iron.
Two of the symptoms of a lack of iron are that there is a slowing down in the cognitive processes, and also an increased inability to focus. Adding fat and sugars to that problem only tends to increase the effect.
Fast food is undoubtedly part of the reason for an increase in obesity. Academics are also going to suffer if children are permitted to eat fast food too often. Cutting back for their mental and physical health is a good idea.
Because fast food tastes good, children are not likely going to cut back on their own. Parents will need to help them get a healthier diet – and better grades. It will start by ensuring that there are healthy foods to eat at home for meals and snacks.
It is not necessary to take children totally off of fast food, but limiting it to one or two times per week will make a difference. It will help them keep the extra weight off, balance their energy levels better, and think clearer. Some foods often found at home that should be avoided include sugary cereals, sports drinks, microwave popcorn, and processed meats.