The link between ultra-processed foods and poor physical condition


A healthy diet is essential for maintaining overall health. Eating high levels of processed foods is well known for its negative health effects, but a new study has suggested it could have serious long-term impacts on fitness levels.

The studywhich was conducted by the American Society for Nutrition, looked at the risks for children with diets high in ultra-processed foods.

Researchers collected and analyzed data from more than 1,500 children in the United States aged 3 to 15 who were enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Survey and the National Youth Fitness Survey. .

This data included information on the child’s typical diet and exercise habits. In addition, the researchers measured physical fitness using various tests, as well as musculoskeletal development and cardiovascular fitness.

They found that children who ate a lot of these types of foods from an early age were more likely to have low physical fitness and poorer cardiovascular health. Worryingly, these effects were long term, with problems often persisting into their teenage years and beyond.

The long-term effects of ultra-processed foods

Regardless of their age, children who ate more ultra-processed foods were more likely to be in poor physical shape. It is worrying, as regular exercise is known to have many benefits.

Children who ate the most ultra-processed foods reported getting high numbers of calories from things like hot dogs, pizza, candy, packaged snacks, and chicken nuggets, and the risks are as high as for adults.

Researcher Jacqueline Vernarelli, Ph.D. noted, “Healthy eating and exercise behaviors are established at a very young age. Our results underscore the need to educate families about cost-effective ways to reduce consumption of ultra-processed foods to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular health problems in adulthood.

Although highly processed ready meals are easy to throw in a school bag, our research shows the importance of preparing healthy snacks and meals. Think of it as if you were saving for retirement: you are now making decisions that will influence your child’s future.


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