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High junk food consumption puts teenagers' health at risk: Foundation

2022-09-26
Focus Taiwan
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CNA photo Sept. 25, 2022
CNA photo Sept. 25, 2022

Taipei, Sept. 25 (CNA) The high consumption of junk food by teenagers in Taiwan has put their health at risk, with the popularity of food delivery platforms exacerbating the situation during the COVID-19 pandemic, a foundation said on Sunday.

According to a 2022 survey targeting high school students by the Child Welfare League Foundation, R.O.C., 70 percent of respondents ate sweets or snacks at least once every week, while 60 percent purchased sugary beverages once every week.

Nearly 25 percent of respondents consumed those junk food on a daily basis, a problem that requires greater attention from parents, the foundation said.

The foundation also cautioned that the growing use of food delivery platforms during the pandemic had worsened the situation among high school students.

According to its survey, 33 percent of respondents used food delivery services at least twice a week, while further breakdown showed that 70 percent of the group used such services to order meals, followed by 55.5 percent, 41.2 percent and 31.4 percent for beverages, snacks, and fried foods, respectively.

Among those teenagers, they were found to have been prone to health disorders like fatigue, lethargy, or insomnia, the foundation said, without giving details.

The foundation also found that children whose parents eat junk foods frequently tend to be 2-3 times more likely to do the same compared with those whose parents eat healthier.

It is why parents should develop a healthy diet habit and eat with their children more often, the foundation suggested.

In addition, the foundation advised that the government require food delivery platforms to provide details about calories, sugar, and caffeine content for the beverages they deliver to alert consumers to the content of on-site-produced beverages.

Citing the government's Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan between 2017-2020, the foundation said that 26 percent to 30 percent of people aged 7-18 in Taiwan were either overweight or obese.

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