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Is there a strong connection between the fast food industry and the growing rate of obesity among young children? The answer is yes- fast food consumption is a large contributor to increasing child obesity risks and the effects of long-term health problems in the future. Children are bombarded by fast food advertising on a daily basis which lure them into wanting fast foods in addition to the great taste. The rapid growth of child obesity is in step with the growing fast food chains and market. The realization of this important link is the first step in finding a solution to the growing epidemic of child obesity.
A person is considered obese or suffering from obesity when their weight is 20 percent (25 % in women) or more over the maximum desirable weight for their height. When a person is more than 100 pounds overweight, it is considered to be a potentially fatal condition, also known as morbid obesity. Rates of obesity are climbing, the percentage of children and young adolescents who are obese have doubled in the last twenty years. Obesity increases a person’s risk of numerous illnesses and death due to diabetes, stroke, coronary artery disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, and kidney and gallbladder disorders. Obesity also increases the risk of various types of cancer. Once a person reaches the level of being obese, it is far more difficult to reverse the condition as compared to someone who is simply overweight and needs to shed a few pounds. Many obesity patients suffer psychologically from stress, depression, and frustration. These mental side-effects contribute to the extreme difficulty of losing weight and especially if the person has been obese or extremely overweight from an early age. The majority of young children who develop bad eating habits- consuming fast food- stay with them as they become young adults. “A person’s food preferences, like his or her personality, are formed during the first few years of life, through the process of socialization.”(Schlosser) Toddlers can learn to enjoy healthy food or fast food, depending on what they are introduced to at this developmental stage. These foods evolve into “comfort foods” as they grow older and become a source of pleasure and satisfaction. Although, genetic factors and inactive lifestyle are factors, obesity is mainly caused by the body consuming more food than it can use.
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...ast food industry plays a big part in contributing to child obesity, because of the lack of effort to decrease the fat, salt, sugar content, and portions of their meals. They are also to blame for the excessive marketing directed toward young children through media and advertising. They have infiltrated the minds of children to trust fast food icons such as Ronald McDonald and to start bad eating habits at an early age that will carry over into their adulthood. Although the fast food industry is a largely linked to the growth of child obesity, they can not solely take the blame. A child is ten times more likely to become obese if his or her parent is obese. This is due to a combination of genetic factors and social environment the child has been accustomed to. Parents have the responsibility to teach their children that it’s not ok to eat fast food regularly. After all, the parents are the ones who buy the fast food for their children and drive the family to the restaurants. They should regulate the consumption. A more morally responsible fast food industry, with the combined efforts of responsible parents - is the only solution to reverse the increasing epidemic of child obesity.
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