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Fast Food and childhood Obesity

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Many health professionals believe that fast food restaurants are a major factor in increasing childhood obesity in America. Their belief is that advertisements produced by fast food restaurants are targeting children as their audience. Health professionals believe that children of a young age are very easily persuaded by fast food advertisements, which creates more demand for their product resulting in an increased rate of childhood obesity. The American Psychological Association (APA) state on their website that, "Research has found strong associations between increases in advertising for non-nutritious foods and rates of childhood obesity" (The Impact of Food Advertising…). This research is what has sparked this belief of fast food restaurant's detrimental effects on childhood health. Their belief is that a young child's environment can have a large influence on their future choices and decisions; this includes, and not limited to, television content and advertising seen on billboards and buses. They do not understand the persuasive intent of advertising (The Impact of Food Advertising…). In a research study that was performed by Shin-Yi Chou, Inas Rasha, and Michael Grossman, they analyzed the relationship between the exposure to fast-food advertising and childhood obesity and found that there was, "a strong positive effect of exposure to fast-food restaurants advertising on the probability the children and adolescents are overweight" (616). This meant that the more fast-food advertising a child viewed, the greater the probability of the child or adolescent becoming overweight. The APA supports this on their website through their statement that, "Product preference has been shown to occur with as little as a single commercial e...

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...nd got massive headaches when [he] didn't (Super Size Me).
Along his journey, he also noted that, "I'll eat some, and just a little while later I'll be hungry again and I'll want more" (Super Size Me). In this documentary, Spurlock's gastroenterologist states that fast food may actually be addictive for its consumers, and that he may be becoming addicted to the fast food. In a study that was performed by The Scripps Research Institute, they found, "that the same molecular mechanisms that drive people into drug addiction are behind the compulsion to overeat, pushing people into obesity" (Scripps Research Study Shows…). This research and the results from Spurlock's fast food diet shows that it is likely that the addiction to the fast food may be another method for fast food corporations to continue to 'persuade' their customers to continue purchasing their products.
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