In the U.S., one in five children between the ages of six and 19 have a body mass index at or above the 95th percentile, which is considered obese. Many adults in the U.S. are also obese. And when mom and dad are overweight, their kids are 80% more likely to have a weight problem too.
Those easy, quick, and cheap options are fueling an obesity epidemic in kids.
“The first thing that comes to mind is price and convenience, not health,” said Steven Burroughs, a nutritionist from the University of Central Florida.
Business insider ranked fast food for kids. Chick-fil-A’s grilled nuggets kids meal weighed in as the worst with 570 calories. Subway’s ham and cheese kids meal tops the list with more than half the calories and sodium. And just because you’re not eating out, you still need to watch what you’re making at home.
“A big concern would be the amount of salt or sodium in some of the processed foods that kids really like, like chips or canned foods or packaged foods,” said Burroughs.
The CDC recommends 1,500 milligrams of sodium for small children and up to 2,300 for older kids. High sodium intake is significantly associated with higher levels of body fat in kids and according to the CDC, the No. 1 source of sodium is bread.
In fact, one sandwich on wheat bread contains almost 350 milligrams of sodium. A better choice -- a lettuce wrap. The average slice of pizza can contain up to 600 milligrams of sodium. Other foods high in sodium -- pasta sauces, soups, cheeses, and deli meats.
A parent’s best bet, check the labels for calories, fat and sodium.
Another mistake parents make is relying on formula. Pediatricians have long said that breast is best for infants. Studies have shown that breast-fed babies face a lower risk for childhood obesity. And due to obesity, more kids than ever before are facing very adult diseases like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea.