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How have processed foods affected children's health?

Dr. David L. Katz, MD, MPH
Preventive Medicine
We have made the proliferation and sale of energy-dense, manufactured foods more of a priority than the health of our kids. We have made indulgence of free-market forces more of a priority than the health of our kids.

And so, predictably, the health of our kids has gone where we sent it: to hell in our hand basket.

Epidemic childhood obesity is just the visible tip of an iceberg of present and pending peril. We have widespread type 2 diabetes among our children; a generation ago, this was called “adult onset” diabetes. The proliferation of ever more cardiac risk factors in ever younger people is reported in the medical literature at regular intervals. There is actual coronary disease in adolescents. There is ever more bariatric surgery among teenagers. And we have recent evidence that the rate of stroke has risen 35% in children 5 to 14, with epidemic obesity the only smoking gun on the scene to account for it.
Processed foods often have extra salt, fat, and sugar added to enhance their taste. This has affected children's health by increasing the incidence of overweight, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health problems. Childhood obesity is currently a major health epidemic in our country. It is important to make healthy food choices for your family. Talk with your doctor about how to maintain a healthy diet and reduce your intake of processed foods.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.