A Junk Food Epidemic

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Americans are proud of many achievements, but obesity should not be one of them. Obesity is the byproduct of Junk Food and not living a healthy lifestyle. Our government regulates drugs, alcohol, but why not junk food? It is pretty obvious that people love junk food and are developing health related conditions due to it and don’t care. This is not a new phenomenon, it has been a problem for years, and people are not changing their ways. We don’t know much about the problem, not to mention the solution. Federal Government should step into this issue and begin regulating junk food because it is slowly killing us, other countries have had success regulating it, and there are healthier options.

Junk food has been around since the early 1900’s and began expanding when fast food chains like Mcdonald's, Taco Bell, and Burger King began opening up all over the world. Every year there's new fast food chains opening and new items on the menu releasing. While inflation is going up junk food prices are staying consistent while sales and obesity rates are going up. The fast food industry generates over 200 billion dollars a year compared to 6 billion in the 1970’s (John, Wiley)! Fast food has changed a lot the past decades, but the art of the deal hasn’t.

Why do we love junk food? People eat junk food, well, because it tastes so good. We're hooked on the pleasure of eating rich, sweet, and salty foods that look, smell, and taste divine and delight all of our senses. The food industry creates products with this in mind. We consume these products, which alter our metabolism and train our taste buds to desire them, and the food industry further fuels demand for them through alluring advertising. This is a brilliant marketing coup for corporations and an insidious exchange for us. The food companies get fat bottom lines, and we just get fat bottoms!

Many consumers eat junk food because of the price and convenience of buying it. No one really likes going to the grocery store, buying ingredients, and making your own meal that doesn’t turn out the way you expected it to. The solution was fast food, it was simple, fast and cheap. People were getting lazy that they did not want to get out of their car so drive thrus began developing, and today you can now order from any fast food chain in your bed and get it delivered by a food delivery service.

There seems to be a belief out there that junk food is actually cheaper than healthy food. Eating healthier only cost about one to two dollars more than junk food but it is worth it because your health is your wealth (John, Wiley). “Healthy food is too expensive” has become an excuse for people not to eat healthy and depend on junk food. If consumers made their own meals it could possibly cost then eating junk food but a lot of people are used to their Mom cooking for them, so they never learn how to cook.

Fast food has become so common that most children in America are able to recognize McDonald’s before they even learn to walk or speak. Adolescence is an important period of physical, social, and emotional development, and is characterized by prominent neurobiological changes in the brain (John, Wiley). But when children eat junk food it affects your body development. In fact, fast food chains focus on marketing to children more than anyone else. Children are constantly bombarded with junk food marketing, both through traditional forms of advertising such as television and billboards, along with new techniques such as internet, sponsorship and in-store promotion. Fast food chains began targeting kids with kids meals and including free toys like Mcdonalds happy meal which has different toys every time you visit. There has been many attempts to stop fast food chains from giving kids toys with their meal “Health groups have called on the Federal Government to ban the junk-food industry's free toy and competition offers often used to promote fast-food meal deals and sugary cereals to children”(Miletic, Daniella).

Since adolescents are too young to understand what unhealthy and healthy food is, the effects of unhealthy food, it becomes the parents fault for influencing their kids by eating junk food themselves. Even if the parents make their children eat their vegetables, kids are still exposed to junk food at their schools and public. Nothing seems to work for children because obesity rates keep rising for children, “The prevalence of childhood obesity in the US is at an all-time high with nearly one-third of all children and adolescents now considered overweight or obese” (Nicosia, Nancy, and Ashlesha Datar). Junk food availability is a critical issue for middle and high schools in the U.S. However. Young children’s access to junk foods in school is an important concern due to the strong correlation between childhood overweight and obesity in adolescence and adulthood.

People always know when a new item is coming out on the menu this is due to good marketing. Well billions are spent annually on just advertisements so it's obvious why your always seeing fast and junk food advertisements (Miletic, Daniella). The solution is too increase sales of healthy food and decrease the sales of unhealthy food. This can be done by spending 200 billion dollars on marketing and promoting healthy foods.

Junk food is very high in calories, trans fats, sodium, and bad ingredients, that harm your health. Eating too much junk food causes weight gain and people begin becoming obese. The prevalence of obesity is increasing globally, with nearly half a billion of the world’s population now considered to be overweight or obese. The obesity epidemic is related both to dietary factors Junk food also gives you health related problems besides obesity (S, Ro¨ssner). Obesity also contributes to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses(Richard, Edwards, et al).

People try to give up junk food because they experience health related problems and weight gain. The most easiest way to give up on junk food is not to give it up but to eat it in moderation but prevention is even better. Prevention of obesity has to start in the younger age groups, and should focus on simple measures such as encouraging adoption of a healthy diet and promoting a non-sedentary lifestyle, particularly by encouraging physical activity within schools (S, Ro¨ssner).

Since junk food has been a problem all over the world. Eight countries decided to step in and declare war on junk food. Canada, Chile, France, Ireland, Mexico, Norway, Taiwan, and United Kingdom began regulating junk food by changing many factors and making new laws. Some of these countries banned junk food ads to children, while other countries completly banned junk food advertisements. Some focus on educational programs about nutrition (S, Ro¨ssner). Most of these countries focused on children because prevention is key. Regulating junk food has worked for all countries that decided to fight, it is now Americas turn.

Some countries are against regulating junk food because they think people should have the choice to eat what they want and live the lifestyle they want to and that regulating it will not work but cause more problems which is true. People have choice, they can eat junk food or not, but when abused it leads to problems same with drugs. The government began regulating alchoal and other drugs because individuals wouldnt control them self, same thing with junk food.

Regulating junk food doesnt mean completly banning it, it means regulating parts that cause problems and make it worse for the future. It can be as simple as not adding toys with meals so kids get hooked or educating us on the effects of junk food and promote healthy eating. Banning addictive ingredients or setting caloric limits on meals would help signifcantly. Federal Government doesn’t need to ban junk food, they just need to make small changes, which will have big postive effects.

Every year more people are eating junk food, obesity rates keep rising, and people develop chronic illneses due to poor diet choices. Individuals became addicted to junk food and gave up on their health. Some knew it was harming them so decided to quit but couldn’t. Our government regulates drugs, alcohol, but not junk food. Since individuals can’t control what they eat, Americas only solution is having the federal government step in to began regulation and educating us about harmfull effects of junkfood and positive effects of healthy food. The law has a powerful role to play in confronting factors that contribute to obesity, including food marketing, the overabundance and overaccessibility of nonnutritious foods, the lack of nutrition information in restaurants, and the possible addictive properties of food. Historically it has been the role of government to regulate public health, safety, and welfare. (Richard, Edwards, et al.) . It has worked for other countries, it is now Americas turn.

Works Cited

John, Wiley. “The Impact of Junk Foods on the Adolescent Brain.” Cuyahoga Community College - Library Remote Authentication, 2014, web-a-ebscohost-com.libauth.tri-c.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=914ae7db-b552-417a-8ffc-f8d9fdfdc7fc%40sessionmgr4008&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3D%3D#db=cmedm&AN=29251841.

Miletic, Daniella. “Health Groups Want Ban on Junk-Food Marketing Ploys.” Cuyahoga Community College - Library Remote Authentication, 9 June 2009, web-a-ebscohost-com.libauth.tri-c.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=6&sid=d16cef73-097a-4531-9b87-ffd3e7e0cd07%40sdc-v-sessmgr05&bdata=JmxvZ2luLmFzcCZzaXRlPWVob3N0LWxpdmU%3D#AN=SYD-5PKTTVMM52045YGE40V&db=rps

Nicosia, Nancy, and Ashlesha Datar. “Junk Food in Schools and Childhood Obesity.” Cuyahoga Community College - Library Remote Authentication, 2014, web-a-ebscohost-com.libauth.tri-c.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=f5ec67cd-3046-44eb-8035-8d4f543431de%40sdc-v-sessmgr06&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3D%3D#AN=76170466&db=bth.

Richard, Edwards, et al. “Innovative Legal Tools to Prevent Obesity.” Cuyahoga Community College - Library Remote Authentication, 2014, web-a-ebscohost-com.libauth.tri-c.edu/ehost/detail/detail?vid=3&sid=14d8d1a3-b770-4810-93b8-22fe47f83cb2%40sessionmgr4010&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3D%3D#AN=17721154&db=a9h.

S, Ro¨ssner. “Obesity: the Disease of the Twenty-First Century.” Ebscohost, 2012, eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&sid=1a66c379-e803-421c-8bc9-ab1bb6ab6583%40sessionmgr103

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A Junk Food Epidemic. (2020, May 13). Retrieved July 21, 2024 , from

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