Take-away Meals, a Risk Factor for Heart Disease and Diabetes in Children

Take-away Meals, a Risk Factor for Heart Disease and Diabetes in Children

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Highlights:
  • Children who regularly consume take-away meals may be at high-risk for heart disease and diabetes.
  • Take-away food is high in calories and provides children with low amount of essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Only 26% of children surveyed said that they never or rarely ate take-away meals.
Regular consumption of take-away meals may boost a child's risk for heart disease and diabetes, reports new study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood. The nutrition intake children receive from take-away is also limited; it is high in calories and low in essential vitamins and minerals compared to children who consume home-made food.

The trend of take-aways

In the UK alone, between 1996 and 2006, the consumption of take aways rose by over a quarter. There are very few restaurants worldwide today that do not offer take-away facilities. Moreover, with the rise of online application and home deliveries services, the practice of eating take away food has become more convenient.

Health Associated Problems with Take-Aways

Research has shown that a high take-away diet in adults can cause health and diet problems including poor diet quality, body fat, and high risk for type 2 diabetes and heart problems. However, with the trend seemingly increasing in children, the team wanted to study the effects of such a food habit in kids.

Study Overview

The study included 1,948 children between the ages 9 and 10 from different ethnic backgrounds. These children from 85 primary schools in London, Birmingham, and Leicester were quizzed about their usual diets, the source of the meals (home/restaurant/fast food) and also on how often they ate take-aways.
Take-away Meals, a Risk Factor for Heart Disease and Diabetes in Children

Children were provided with photos of common foods to aid them in estimating the quantity and type of food they eat. From their response nutrient levels were calculated.

Each child's height, weight, waist circumference, skinfold thickness, and body fat composition were measured. The child's blood pressure and cholesterol levels were also measured.

As the school was part of the Child Heart And health Study in England (CHASE), potential prompts for heart disease and diabetes risk factors in these children was also available.

Study Findings

Consumption of take-away:
  • One in four children (26%) children said they never or rarely ate take-away meals
  • Almost half the children (46%) said they ate a take-away less than once a week
  • 28% of the children said they ate take-away at least once a week.
Other Findings:
  • Boys were more frequent consumers of take-aways than girls
  • Children from less affluent backgrounds ate take-aways more often
  • Skinfold thickness, body fat composition, and blood fats found to be higher in regular consumers of take-aways.
  • No differences were observed in blood pressure or insulin resistance among children who regularly ate take-aways and those who didn't.
  • Regular consumers of take-away had higher total cholesterol and LDL [low density or 'bad'] cholesterol concentrations.
Nutrition levels:
  • Consumers of take-aways tended to have food rich in energy but low in protein and starch.
  • Intake of vitamin C, iron, calcium and folate were also lower in regular take-away consumers.

References :
  1. Regular Takeaways Linked to Kids' Heart Disease and Diabetes Risk Factors - (https://www.eurekalert.org/emb_releases/2017-12/b-rtl121317.php)

Source: Medindia

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