The problem with fast food is that it is made to be addictive to eat which can result in children being addicted to consuming this particular product resulting in it adversely affecting a child’s early behavioral development regarding proper eating habits. First and foremost, what you have to understand is that early eating habits do indeed impact the potential for children to become obese. As children get more used to a particular food item, they start to desire to eat that type of food exclusively resulting in the creation of the foundation of their future diet (Cunningham, Kramer and Narayan, 405). With fast food, children are thus exposed to a food product that is full of empty calories, is high in preservatives and has a chemical composition that may have adverse long term consequences. As such, it is in the opinion of this paper that the exposure of children to fast food early on has an adverse effect on them, resulting in the need to prevent the sale of fast food in schools.
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The Problem with Consuming Fast food
The problem with consuming fast food on a daily basis is due to the fact that their convenience and serving size results in people eating more than they should in a single sitting. What is interesting about this particular product is that despite the relatively small sizes of some types of fast food (ex: a burger, a slice of pizza, a can of soda, a bag of chips, etc.) they are actually calorie dense. This means that despite being small in size, they can often contain more calories than foods of a comparable weight or density. As a result of their unique structure, people can consume more than 3,000 calories a day from the various forms of fast food they eat without even noticing it (Pan, 2567). This differs significantly from cases where people eat healthy food (ex: vegetables, fish, fresh fruits, etc.) and feel relatively full. Since an average adult should only consume 2,500 calories in a single day, consuming high calorie fast food such as a burger with a large coke is equivalent to more than 50 grams of fat and 1500 calories within a single sitting. Do note that since an average adult eats 3 to 4 large meals within a single day, these calories can add up resulting in a diet containing 4,000 or more calories per day. The end result is that the excess calories get stored as fat and contribute towards the obesity problem within the country.
Impact of Fast Food on our Population
Fast food such as chips, burgers, sodas, and candies has become such a part of our present day culture that it is almost unthinkable to imagine the U.S. without fast food. In nearly every town, city and state groceries, and shopping malls, various restaurants carry some form of fast food that is rapidly consumed by a voracious public that enjoys the taste and convenience of such products. The reason behind this quite simple, fast food is quick and easy to consume and is relatively cheap as compared to other food products. It is due these qualities and its general level of availability that it has become popular with kids and adults alike.
Unfortunately, the prevalence of such a product has resulted in a considerable price that has been paid in the form of growing obesity rates. This is especially true among children wherein 15.5% of kids aged between five to fifteen in school have body mass indexes reaching 30 or higher, far above the norm of 25 or below (Rossen, 123). When taking into consideration the fact that obesity has been connected to ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems and other maladies associated with being overweight, this shows that some means of stopping this current trend must be implemented in order to safeguard the present day population of the country. The source of this problem is related to eating habits that were developed early on in an individual’s life, the sedentary lifestyle they lead and the lack of proper education when it comes to the excessive consumption of fast food.
The current problem with approaches in resolving the issue childhood obesity in schools is that there is actually no effective method to prevent a child from eating unhealthy foods. A teacher cannot simply take burger out of a child’s hand and tell them not to eat it. The same applies to teachers forcing parents to give their child healthier meals, it simply cannot be done. One way in which the problem of fast food could be resolved would be to include healthy food options to be in school cafeterias, as well as the distribution of calorie and nutrition guidelines to parents which detail the various types of food that would be good for their children. Lastly, the school would restrict or outright ban the marketing or sale of fast food to children within the school premises as well as preventing the sale of other goods which have been connected to the obesity epidemic. If these practices are implemented within the school, then it can be expected that the students will be able to develop the correct kind of eating habits which should result in lower rates of obesity. While it is true that there would be a definite backlash from various food companies over the implementation of this particular policy within the schools, the fact remains that something should be done to prevent the current obesity epidemic in the country and preventing the sale of fast food to children so that they can develop good eating habits is a good place to start such an initiative.
Based on what has been presented so far, it is the opinion of this paper that the exposure of children to fast food early on has an adverse effect on them resulting in the need to prevent the sale of fast food in schools. By putting this particular plan into action this should help in considerably reducing the obesity epidemic that is adversely impacting the U.S. at the present.
Cunningham, Solveig A., Michael R. Kramer, and K. M. Venkat Narayan. “Incidence Of Childhood Obesity In The United States.” New England Journal Of Medicine 370.5 (2014): 403-411. Print
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Pan, Liping. “Trends In The Prevalence Of Extreme Obesity Among US Preschool-Aged Children Living In Low-Income Families, 1998-2010.” JAMA: Journal Of The American Medical Association 308.24 (2012): 2563-2565. Print.
Rossen, Laruen M. “Neighbourhood Economic Deprivation Explains Racial/Ethnic Disparities In Overweight And Obesity Among Children And Adolescents In The USA.” Journal Of Epidemiology & Community Health 68.2 (2014): 123-129. Print.