Kids becoming fatter thanks to fast food

14:36, June 24, 2010      

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Almost one-fifth of the second "single-child generation" often eats foreign fast food, a survey has found.

With many of the post-80 generation now married and with families of their own, the second "single-child generation" has arrived and is being seen as the first generation of Chinese people to grow up with too much food.

According to a dietary survey by China Youth and Children Research Center (CYCRC), 13.6 percent of the second "single-child generation" are obese.

More than 3,000 families from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenyang took part in the survey, including 820 local families.

The survey found 17.2 percent of children often eat fast food. Among the fast-food loving youths, the number of obese is much higher than average.

Fang Ming, 29, who takes his five-year-old son to KFC every week, said he likes foreign fast food and enjoys taking his son with him.

"Foreign fast food is clean and delicious," he said. "The environment here is fine and they even provide my son with a small playground. My son likes it very much, both the food and the playground."

The results of the survey also reveal that children fed by grandparents are more likely to be overweight. The reason for that is thought to be that grandparents like to give children more food than they need. More than 30 percent of young children are cared for by grandparents.

Hao Zhixin, 61, a retail worker, said he takes his grandson to foreign fast food restaurants as a form of encouragement.

"Rather than seeing my grandson being picky about food, I would rather take him for fast food," he said. "Any time he makes progress in school, I will take him to eat fast food. My little grandson likes it and he eats more than he does at home and I am happy to see that."

However, most parents and grandparents do not have enough knowledge about nutrition and only 6.6 percent of parents know the scientific composition of a healthy diet, the survey said.

Wang Yunfeng, a pediatric doctor with the China-Japan Friendship Hospital, said foreign fast food is meat-based and high in fat, which provides more calories than the body needs. In the summer, eating greasy food may also cause intestinal diseases, Wang cautioned.

"For children, regular consumption of Western fast food makes it more likely they will be obese, have diabetes, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases when they grow up", Wang said. "It is not conducive to their healthy growth."

Parents of the second "one-child generation" grew up in a period that saw the rapid development of Western fast food in China. They have accepted the lifestyle changes brought by foreign fast food, but haven't realized the negative influence of this lifestyle on their children, the survey found.

Sun Yunxiao, deputy director of CYCRC, said young parents should not only change their bad eating habits but help their kids to develop healthy ones.

Source: China Daily


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