The 17-year study examined 9,000 British children who were born in the 1990s. It found food like frozen entrees, soda, mass-produced bread products, and ready-to-eat meals accounted for more than 60 percent of the participant's average daily calorie intake.
"The children who eat the most ultra-processed foods have the worst weight gain, but also the more they eat, the worse this gets," the study's author Dr. Eszter Vamos said.
The study notes that ultra-processed foods are modified and their consistency, taste, color, and shelf life are affected, along with having high levels of things like sugar, salt, and saturated fats, while having low levels of protein, dietary fiber, and nutrients. The study notes these changes do not take place in foods that are cooked at home.
Researchers found that kids who ate more ultra-processed foods had an increase in their BMI, weight, waist size, and body fat. The study also found the consumption of processed foods is also linked to socio-economic and education factors.
So what can parents do to help their kids eat more healthy meals?
The Doctors have so many healthy meal ideas and recipes that focus on using whole and unprocessed foods. Also, consider cooking more of your family meals with your children, which can help inspire them to make better-informed food choices later in life.
Additionally, consider swapping out certain foods for healthier choices (chances are your kids won't even notice!) We have suggestions for swapping sugary foods, meat and dairy, desserts, butter, bread, and even takeout meals.