Study Shows Children Who Eat Processed Foods Are At Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Nobody needs to be an expert to understand that eating a Pop-Tart for breakfast is not ideal for health. Nevertheless, recent studies indicate that kids who consume a lot of ultra-processed meals also experience declines in their personal exercise.

Ultra-processed foods linked to cardiovascular disease 

Ultra-processed meals have been linked in the past to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in adults. By establishing one of the first links between consuming these kinds of meals and children’s poorer levels of physical fitness, the latest research adds to existing findings. 

Associate professor and Master of Public Health program director at Sacred Heart University Jacqueline Vernarelli stated, “Healthy dietary and exercise behaviors are established at a very young age. Our findings point to the need to educate families about cost-effective ways to reduce ultraprocessed food intake to help decrease the risk for cardiovascular health problems in adulthood.”

The team examined the relationship between personal fitness and ultra-processed meals at various stages of life using data from 1,500 kids aged three to 15 who participated in the 2012 National Youth Fitness Survey. Items that were extremely processed comprised ready meals like pizza, burgers, hotdogs, and chicken nuggets and also breakfast cereals, packaged snacks, candy, drinks, sweetened juices, and yoghurt.

Children aged five and under who consumed meals that were highly prepared had low motor scores, which meant that they could not move as quickly as students with better scores went from one place to another. The individuals who scored the lowest consumed an additional 273 calories from ultra-processed foods on average.

The study evaluated children’s cardiovascular fitness 

The team assessed older children’s heart fitness to gain information about their physical health. They discovered that adolescents and preteens who were in good cardiovascular fitness consumed less than 226 units of ultra-processed meals on a daily basis.

Veernarelli explained, “Though highly processed convenience foods are easy to throw into a school bag, our research shows the importance of preparing healthy snacks and meals.  Think of it like saving for retirement: You’re making decisions now that will influence your child’s future.”

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