Over 60,000 Kiwi kids are eating fast food at least three times per week. Are we losing the importance of a good, healthy, home-cooked meal?
The New Zealand Health Survey carried out annually by the Ministry of Health revealed in their most recent report that 62,000 New Zealand children aged between 2 and 14 years old ate fast food at least three times in the week prior to the survey. The increase in New Zealand’s population is not a factor in the rise, with the percentage of kids consuming fast food this regularly jumping from 5.7% in 2015 to 8.2% in 2017 for boys, and from 6.2% in 2015 to 7.5% in 2017 for girls.
The number of kids who are eating fast food at least once per week is 70.7% of girls and 74.9% of boys.
Friday night takeaways
Is fish and chips on a Friday night a tradition for your family, like many other Kiwi homes? While we know it’s not good for us, the occasional fried food is not going to tip the scales (if you pardon the pun), from what is basically a healthy diet into an obesity-inducing one. The problem is that, as these figures show, a large proportion of our kids are no longer eating fast food or takeaways as an occasional treat. Our fast food fascination is gaining momentum and the regularily at which we are consuming these ‘treat’ foods is an issue.
It may sound like a cliche, but when parents today were kids fast food was a once-in-a-while treat, if we had it at all. I can remember the one and only time I got KFC as a kid. I remember my first trip to Pizza Hutt and my first taste of McDonalds. Now it seems that kids view a trip to the local fast food joint as nothing out of the ordinary.
It also needs to be pointed out that ‘fast food’ doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy food. There is no clarification of what fast foods were eaten by the survey respondents and with the growth of food options that are available to us now, it is possible to enjoy healthy food that’s fast (sushi anyone?).
The good news?
There is some encouraging news though. The number of kids who are drinking fizzy drink at least three times per week is slowly dropping, despite a rise in our population. The number has fallen from 149,000 in 2012 to 130,000 in 2017. So it seems that the ‘water is best’ message is getting through. Or maybe they’re just drinking something else just as unhealthy instead …
The percentage of kids drinking fizzy drinks at least once per week is 52.2% of girls and 60.2% of boys. Since 2012, the number of kids drinking fizzy drinks at least once per week has dropped by 40,000.
Why do you think kids today are eating more fast food? Join the discussion in the comments below.
This article was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ. Statistical information and graph images are courtesy of Figure.NZ.
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