Childhood Obesity and Fast Food Manufacturers


Child Obesity
Child obesity in America is well documented. Many Americans find it easier to access fast foods more than the conventional dining options available. Fast food joints are nowadays found at almost every turn of a corner. Fast food manufacturers are investing heavily because of the growing market for their products. The eating habits of the population, especially children, have shifted over the last few years. The growing appetite for burgers and fries is creating crisis obesity situation with increasing calls for the government to regulate the fast food industry. Whether the blame lies with the authorities or the consumers will be a discussion for many days. Since 70s the number of fast food joints has increased almost threefold, with just over 300,000 establishments coming up over that period. Figures from statistics show that over 40% of people in America suffer from obesity related complications, 20% of which are children and adolescents. The relationship between obesity and fast food is scientifically proven. The purpose of this paper is look at the relationship between fast food and child obesity, and the management practices that can be put in place to mitigate the situation.
The arguments David ZinZeko makes are valid fast food manufacturers do not provide enough information for their products. They also don’t provide warnings in adverts the way cigarette manufacturers do, to inform consumers of possible harm the products may cause to their health. However, I don’t agree with the argument that lack of parental supervision is to blame for this situation. This is because kids will still access the fast foods in joints because of their low prices anyway. The opinion of other authors on this topic is the same. They also think blame lies with the government and manufacturers for fail to regulate the market. Fast foods have flooded the market and within reach by kids. The argument is convincing given the nature of the situation. We have a nation that is growing fat and the health risks for kids are high.
The issue of child obesity is already a public health disaster in America. With the number of children under the of age seven suffering from obesity tripling over the last decade, experts link child obesity to increased consumption of fast foods. I agree with David Zinzekos argument that fast foods are cheaply available and easily accessible by the children, we cannot therefore blame the eater because the government is not doing enough to ensure the conventional healthy foods are available and affordable. In recent past, there has been a sharp increase in television commercials advertising fast products; children fall victims of the appealing nature of these adverts. According to scientific studies, obesity results when there is increased uptake of calorie from food consumption coupled with no or very little physical activity. Statistics from the National Health and Nutrition Survey indicate an increased consumption of calories. Studies on fast foods have shown they contain almost five times the amount of calories contained in conventional diets (Lobstein et al 28).
There are factors that influence the choice of diet; this ranges from cultural and environmental to economic. Obesity results when there is an imbalance in the metabolic system. When a person consumes more calories than they can metabolize, it creates a surplus in the biological system. The body responds by converting the excessive calories into fats. The fats are deposited in various body parts like the belly, waistline and legs. The fats can also be deposited in the lining of arteries making them narrow and hard, this increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart attacks. Other chronic medical conditions like diabetes and kidney failure are linked to obesity. (Alemzadeh et al 36).
Body Mass Index (BMI) also increases with increased deposition of fats. This is the mass of the body divided by the height. BMI causes poor management of body weight and gaining body mass. Fast foods are characteristically high in calories, fats, sugars and sodium. Obesity in children is influenced by several environmental factors; advertisement of unhealthy foods, lack of playgrounds, limited access to health foods and lack of breastfeeding support which reduces the risk of child obesity. The consequences of child obesity include; breathing and respiratory problems, cancers, liver problems, poor self-esteem and psychological stress. Obesity can be managed by increased physical activities to break excessive fats into energy, eating of healthy diets low in fats like fresh vegetables and fruits and reducing the consumption of fast foods high in calories and fats (Ruxton 49)
There is increased public outcry about obesity and particularly child obesity. Lack of regulatory framework to control the fast food industry has been pinpointed as issue the authorities need to address in order to save children from complications and secure their futures.

Alemzadeh, Ramin, Russell Rising, and Fima Lifshitz. “Obesity in children.” Pediatric Endocrinology. Lifhsitz F (editor). New York, Informa Healthcare 1 (2007): 1-36.
Lobstein, Tim, Louise Baur, and Ricardo Uauy. “Obesity in children and young people: a crisis in public health.” Obesity reviews 5.s1 (2004): 4-85.
Ruxton, C. (2004). Obesity in children. Nursing Standard, 18(20), 47-52.

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