High school students are common customers of fast-food restaurants. Their financial capacities limit their choice of food to budget meals and fast foods that is not to mention the aggressive advertising of fast-food businesses. These establishments offer students tasty snacks and meals that are suited to their budget. The inexpensive meals allow them to perform daily tasks and avoid hunger. The cheap prices also allow them to save up extra money for other expenses. However, consuming fast foods daily can have adverse health effects for high school students. Fast food consumption can increase the risks of chronic diseases, obesity, and even result in poor academic performance.
Health magazines and articles have illustrated the unhealthy ingredients that fast-food restaurants tend to use. Fast food meals have high-calorie and cholesterol contents that result in increased risks of cardiovascular diseases such as diabetes, gallstones, cancer, and heart failure. These restaurants also use an unhealthy amount of sugar to flavor their meals and drinks. The United States Dietetic Association (USDA) stated that a regular chocolate shake contains 62 grams of sugar while a bottle of cola has 44 grams of sugar (Craig & Mangels, 2009). Similarly, foods like French toast sticks and burgers have a high cholesterol and sugar content. Consuming these unhealthy foods can result in increased sugar levels that could lead to diabetes (Cousens, 2010). High school students may also experience serious complications such as hearing loss, high blood pressure, stroke, nerve damage, and glaucoma.
Obesity or unhealthy weight gain is another effect of fast food consumption. Consuming high fat or calorie meals such as fries and deep-fried foods including beef patties, bacon, or cheese can result in a drastic weight increase. These foods are common meals in fast food and are often inexpensive for a high school student. This causes high school students to frequently consume these foods and run the risk of unhealthy weight gain. A report from the Officer of Surgeon General indicates that obesity can result in an increased risk of fatal health complications like cancer, asthma, and sleep apnea (Cousens, 2010). The risks can also increase due to high schools students’ lack of physical activities. An unhealthy weight gain can affect a student’s body image and result in psychological issues.
Fast foods not only affect the physical well-being of a student but may also have an impact on their academic performance. High school students who consume a lot of fast foods show low achievement in sciences, reading, and mathematics. This is because fast foods do not provide students with the nutrients they need for optimal development. Fast foods lack sufficient iron but have excess sugar and fats which continuously affect the wellbeing of the students (Craig & Mangels, 2009). Most fast-food meals contain processed meats and preservatives. These ingredients lack the nutrients from fruits, vegetables, and other dairy products.
Fast foods are inexpensive alternatives to home-cooked meals. High school students prefer them due to their taste as well as affordable price. However, fast food consumption can increase the risks of chronic diseases, obesity, and even result in poor academic performance. They contain an excessive amount of calories, cholesterol, and sugar that are extremely unhealthy for high school students that are still developing their bodies. Thus, it is important to give high school students healthy foods, especially fruits and vegetables to get the healthy nutrients that aid in mental and physical development.
Cousens, G. (2010). Deficiencies on a meat-based diet. Dr. Cousens' Blog. Retrieved November 26, 2011, from gabrielcousens.com
Craig, W. J., & Mangels, A. R. (2009). Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(7), 1266-1282.