For the past decades, our surroundings has been changing, weather the topics indulged in the fastpast development of technology, the latest trend that takes the internet by storm, but one topic that passes a blind eye that seemily is growing everyday for the worst, is our bodies, but most concerning our health. Simple choices individuals make influence their health substantially long term. Everyday decision that individuals make could potentially become lethal to themselves and their surroundings.
Careless repetitive decision like sugary cereals in the morning, that pizza for lunch, or even worst, a quick McDonald drive through that same evening can become a health hazard overtime. These careless decisions that nearly half of Americans execute leads themselves into a rising obesity epidemic that could be fatal. Obesity at any age whether an individual is 40 years old, 25 and pregnant, or just entering kindergarten can potentially harm the individual’s heart, lungs, muscles, kidney, digestive tract, as well as hormones, increasing the emotional toll and disability later in life (Obesity Prevention Source). Nearly 40% of adults in America are obese, meaning 1in 3 adults and 1 and 6 children will end up battling cardiovascular disease and or cancer (Devitt). Leaving our country bigger than it ever been before, while increasing the odds of having a shorter life-span, causing higher lifetime medical cost due to the effects of the obesity caused illnesses.
The urgency to find “the solution” to this national outbreak can be as simple as the type food we eat and most important the food that is given to children. Famous words said by Haim Ginott, a child psychologist, “Children are like wet cement, whatever fall on them makes an impression”, explaining that a child’s brain is incredibly sensitive to its environmental cues and experiences, developing their views that impact their turnout in life. When a child is only exposed to eat junk food full of unsaturated fats, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fats, that diet becomes second nature, and sadly all that adolescent knows. According to Gidding , a pediatric cardiologist, writing for Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week states, “poor eating habits and inactivity are the root causes of childhood obesity” and practicing this certain type of lifestyle can prolong the cycle of the epidemic and increase the child’s risk of becoming obesse . In the midst of the obesity epidemic, instilling a healthier diet from a young age can save a child’s life from life- threatening illnesses, improving their quality of life.
The American Diet has heavily impacted America’s health in a numerous ways. The typical American diet has changed drastically over a century and our health is living proof.
The future of America has become numb to the supersizing of food and becoming unaware of “regular portions.” According to a Scientist on Food and Nutrition, Diet & Food Addiction, Nicole Avena confirmed that the average American individual consumes over 1,000 calorie more than their prefer caloric intake, pertaining to their ideal height and weight (Arena).
Calorie intake for female ages 4 years to 18 years should be consuming around 1,200 calories to 1,800 calories every day and males ages 4 to 18 years should be consuming around 1,400 to 2,220 calories, depending on their build, with at least an hour of physical activity, in order to maintain a child’s normal growth and development (Dietary Recommendation for Healthy Children). Children blindly consuming 1,000 calories a day is very detrimental to their health, and eventually becomes inevitably to stop their rapid weight gain.
Adolescent exceeding 1,000 calories than prefer caloric intake will promote childhood obesity due to the excess weight gain, leading children to fall into a statistic of suffering from Coronary Heart Disease, killing over 370,00 people annually (Heart Disease Facts), being at risk for 13 types of cancer facing the odds of 66% survival rate (Cancer Associated with Overweight and Obesity) , and early adult- onset Type 2 diabetes affecting major organs, including heart, blood vessel, nerves, eyes and kidneys ( Diabete Basic).
A recent study conducted by B.J. Rolls on the influence of food portion size and energy density on energy intake observed, that when humans are presented with larger portions of food and beverages this can leads to a “substantial increase in energy intake,” thus supporting the possibility that larger portion have a role in the development of obesity (B.J Rolls). Studied concluded portion- control strategies to counter “portion distortion” is to “educate people to recognize how much food they should eat of different types of food and beverages at meal and snack ( B.J Rolls).” Understanding portion control is a major factor contributing in the obesity epidemic, especially correlating the data towards fast food chains.
Fast Food chains are known for their super size meals and crazed calorie consumption. For past few decades fast food menus has nearly triple their portions while gravitating towards adolescent thus increasing the rate childhood obesity in America (First We Feast). (Lead more into this) But who becomes accountable for a child’s obesity? According to the American Physiological Society states, “40-70% of obesity-related traits are heritable” meaning overweight mothers were more likely have an overweight offspring setting the child for a lifelong risk of obesity illness (Frihauf). ( get more in depth)
In Today’s age, children ages 8-18 are heavily consumed by social media and all of it entirety. According to American Psychological Association children spends at least 44.5 hours per week in front of a computer screen, television, and phones than in any other activities in their life ( Story and French). Food and Beverage industry in the United States view children and adolescents as a major market force due to their spending powers and careless purchases, completely taking advantage over the stereotypical American child (Story and Finch).
Referring to Food Advertising and Marketing Directed at Children and Adolescent the in the U.S., children and adolescent have been heavily targeted with intense and aggressive forms of media advertising spending over one billion dollars on media advertising through marketing channel, school marketing, and product placement. Food Industries and Fast Food Franchise purposely direct their product towards adolescent with the knowledge of what their product can do to a child’s health long-term. Franchises that are known to cause heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes are targeting ages 2- 4 years with having “75% of US food manufacturers’ advertising budgets and 95% of US fast food restaurants budget all allocated around to television (Story and French).”
Promoting and advertising fast food meals to adolescent and children is just as striking as tobacco industry marketing cigarettes to children. Smoking cigarettes are responsible for 480,00 death in America (Smoking & Tobacco Use) while obesity- related illness cause 300,000 death in America. Banning franchisement’s commercial and advertisement and promoting a healthy lifestyle full of nutrition for the better investment in children’s health to reduce the risk of childhood obesity.
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