We are at a mall. We do a little shopping. Hit the gaming zone for a while. But now our bellies are calling out to us. So we go to the mall’s food court. And what a gastronomic paradise it is. Delicious smells and sights hit our senses from all sides. And we can’t wait to put those mouth watering Burgers or French Fries or Pizza in our mouths.
But let us pause and think…
How are these foods prepared? Were they made from fresh ingredients or processed ones?
How many calories are we consuming?
And what is the nutritional value of this supper?
Fast food is an increasingly popular food choice today for kids and adults alike. They look mouth watering and taste divine. They save the time and effort that goes into cooking and cost much less than a home cooked meal. But how many of us realise the health risks they pose?
Fast foods may give a kickstart to our taste buds, but they are empty calories, i.e without any nutritional value whatsoever. They are high in sodium, trans fats, and sugar which are the primary cause of obesity.
Did you know that according to a study in IndiaToday magazine,
By 2025, India will have over 17 million obese children…
Stand Second among 184 countries where the number of obese children are concerned.
India – notorious for its malnutrition rates, is now facing the opposite epidemic – that of childhood obesity. The reasons:
Wrong eating habits
For better or for worse, fast food is now everywhere – grocery shops, restaurants, television and even on our dining tables. Obesity Foundation of India estimates children’s consumption of sugary sodas has increased by 300% in the last two decades.
What we fail to understand is that fast food is a honey-trap for obesity which in turn exposes us to the risk of diabetes, hypertension and more.
Lack of physical activity
When was the last time any of us ‘went out’ to play with our friends?
Thanks to technology and the intense pressure to study, study, study we are either glued to our screens or to our books, walking an average of only 4,000 steps a day. That’s 6,000 fewer steps than the required 10,000 steps to stay healthy.
Not enough awareness
A major section of population still lacks basic knowledge about right nutrition, the amount of calories one needs according to their age and lifestyle which is again amongst major causes of obesity.
Switch on any channel on tv and one will be hit by an avalanche of food advertising catering especially to kids in the age group of 5 – 15. Major fast food chains believe in developing brand loyalties early, therefore 40-50% of tv commercials are targeted towards children focusing mainly on food.
“Food is a blessing, but it can also be your enemy if you don’t understand it!” Alya Nuri
Eating healthy is a journey shaped by many factors, including our age, preferences, access to food, culture, traditions, and the personal decisions we make over time. All our food and beverage choices count. Let us stop fast food from wreaking havoc on our generation. Let us triumph in the war on obesity.
Let us change the way we think about food.
Let us make healthier choices.
Let’s walk more, swim more, dance more.
Let’s keep our tablets and phones aside and go out and play more.
Let’s us pledge to eat healthy and stay active!