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“Give her some Doritos, too. Don’t be a hog,” a mother told her teenage son on the train, pointing to her daughter that couldn’t have been any older than six. “Pass her Doritos?” I thought to myself. “Naw, she definitely needs to chill on that.”

This dialogue happened nearly six months ago, and it’s still heavy on my mind. Why do parents feed their kids junk food? Seriously?

As a kid, my mother wasn’t strict about what I ate but everything I digested was of good quality. There was no dark soda  (just Sprite sparingly), no super-sugary treats drenched in high fructose corn syrup or pork allowed. Every now and then I would indulge in something sweet, but even well into December I’d have candy still left over from Halloween that would remain untouched and then ultimately thrown away. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but I never was sugar crazy. Even today, the only candy I ever pick up when I’m craving something sweet is a pack of Sour Patch Kids.

As a kid I didn’t understand why exactly my mom didn’t allow me to eat certain things, but as I got older I started to understand importance of what I was putting in my body and how it directly affected my health. So, when I saw that mother willingly giving her child a bag of Doritos I couldn’t understand why she would start a deadly cycle of incorporating junk food into her child’s diet that can be addictive. Sure, the occasional treat is acceptable by all means, but if the young girl happens to be consuming them in large quantities or on a daily basis, there’s trouble on the horizon.

“Health experts say diets of children in the United States have deteriorated dramatically over the past two generations, leading to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes, both of which put children at risk for other diseases and shorter lives,” Live Science reports.

Eileen Kennedy, a pediatric psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, also chimed in on the topic of parents feeding kids junking, explaining that those that have poor eating habits early in life are usually attracted to those certain foods because they learned “at home and at school that they are OK to eat.”

In no way am I saying that parents are being bad caretakers by giving their children junk food, but with 17% of all kids and teens being obese, which is triple the rate of one generation ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, something has to wake people up.

I also understand that a lot of this has to do convenience, money and lack of meal planning. So, sometimes a quick stop to McDonald’s for a sausage biscuit may seem harmful but the long-term effects if such behavior is continued can be life threatening.

What are your thoughts? Do you allow your kids to eat junk food on a regular basis? If so, why?

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