It has now become a habit for adolescents to eat large amounts of fried food. The number of adolescent queuing up in front of fast food joints is proof enough. This has raised severe reasons for concern following the finding that there is a significant weight gain among 9-to14 years old.
It has now been established that a poor quality diet has led to a significant weight gain above the normal rate. The results have been projected after a survey that has examined the heating habits of over 14,355 children over a period of three years. It is one issue that demands superior priority because it is equally important to ensure a healthy generation.
From the study, it has been found that when the children increased the amount of fried foods they ate away from home, their body mass index (BMI) increased. In the survey, this direct association was greatest among the youngest girls (ages 9 to 12).
At the beginning of the study, 3.5 percent of girls and 6 percent of boys reported eating four to seven servings of fried food away from home per week. Overall, girls and boys 13 to 14 years old ate more fried food away from home than 9 to 12 year olds. At the end of the three-year study, the proportion of girls and boys who ate four to seven servings per week had more than doubled, to 7.5 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively.
The study points out that eating fried food away from home is associated with dietary patterns leading to excessive weight gain (e.g., drinking sugar-sweetened beverages) and chronic diseases, such as heart disease (e.g. high consumption of trans and saturated fats), cancer (e.g. low consumption of fruits and vegetables), and type 2 diabetes (e.g. high glycemic load).
It is very difficult to resist the temptation to eat outside in this fast growing fast food environment. Eating a nutritious and healthy diet requires the cooperation of all the family members. Encouraging teens to limit their intake of outside food can materialize the goal.
Furthermore, home dinners have been found to reduce high-risk adolescent behaviors such as tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use.
This finding could help doctors and parents to develop effective interventions to prevent excessive weight gain during this period of adolescence.