Who is to Blame for Childhood Obesity? Daniel Weintraub, a renowned columnist for the editorial pages of the Sacramento Bee, in his article, “The battle against fast food begins in the home”, states that parents are to blame for childhood obesity. The essence of Weintraub’s argument is that it is the parents responsibility not the government, nor are the fast food companies bound to teach kids how to eat healthy and how to say active. He also mentioned results of statistics made on social economic status and gender, which shows that more kids are overweight due to fast food restaurants, supersizing and lack of exercise.
Weintraub refutes these findings by emphasizing how parents are responsible for what their kids eat. As a result, his own recommendations include: limiting the consumption of sodas, junk food as well as avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. Weintraub’s argument is that parental responsibility in food choices and physical activity over kids will result in combating childhood obesity, rather than only blaming the fast food industry by itself. To concur with Weintraub, it is the parent’s responsibility to combat childhood obesity, although fast food industry also shares the responsibility.
It is the role of the parents to instill good eating habits and to serve as role models for their children. If the kid has no medical reason for gaining weight then it seems acceptable to blame the parents. In the first place, the parents are the ones who buy the fast food for their children; parents are the ones who provide them with the money to buy unhealthy snacks. According to Weintraub, “it’s the fault of the parents who let their kids eat unhealthy food and sit in front of the television of computer for hours at a time”.
Weintraub’s point is that children are influenced specially by their parents because they are ones kids live almost all their life with. In consequence, kids are influenced in good ways but mostly on bad habits that their parents teach them. In addition, 12 millions kids are obese; the numbers had tripled in the last 30 years (CBS online). In the first hand, those obese adults did not gain weight in seconds, it all started since they were little.
Yet, some readers may challenge my view by insisting that there are single parents who are too busy to control what their kids are eating, but serving water or milk instead of soda, sitting at a table instead of around a TV, these are small changes that can break old habits and make a real difference without spending too much of the parents time. Obese children do not get fat in their own; they get fat because the parents allow them to. It does not take to much to tell a child “no”, actually, posing some limit is good at times.
How can you teach a kid how to eat healthy if the only example that he sees is how to overeat? Indeed, the way children eat is the main cause of childhood obesity. As mentioned above, small changes in their diets can have large results in the future preventing them of obesity. Healthy choices include fruits and vegetables instead of sugary snacks. A good choice is carrots, apples, and even salads with a variety of vegetables instead of chips or a hamburger. One can also replace sweet juices and sodas with pure water. With this in mind, research scientist Susan H.
Babey, co-author of the policy brief explains, “If parents are eating poorly, chances are their kids are too” (Parents are to blame for childhood obesity). In other words, Susan believes that the parents own eating habits play a significant role informing the child’s own perception of what will contribute to a “normal diet”. Children will learn bad eating habits by example, but helping children choose better foods, and right portions while they are young will ensure them to keep making the same choices as they continue growing.
Parents who eat junk food and large portions tend to have children who also eat junk food with large portions. Maybe one cannot always control what they eat at school, but as long as they get a healthy, normal size portions at home, it will sure make a difference on their weight. For the most part, eating habits tend to stay with them all their childhood until adulthood. Obviously, that is why it is the parent’s responsibility to eat healthy in order for their children to do the same thing. Thus, kids will have someone to look up to; their parents.
Aside from modeling healthy habits, parents need to model how to exercise as well as involve their children in physical activities. To start with, the main problem is that 3 out of 5 children are spending up to 4 hours or more in front of the television, playing video games, or in the computer, instead of doing some kind of physical activity, “3 out of 5 children by their 30-40’s will be overweight or obese” (CBS news online). Weintraub’s states, ” we limit television time and encourage our boys to get out of the house, either to participate in organized sports or to ride their bikes, skateboard or roller blades”.
Weintraub insists parents to get out of that couch and turn off the television and do more for the future of their children. Many people believe that the blame is in the fast food industry; it is true that advertising works but it does not if one as the parent takes responsibility over your children activities. It may sound so cruel but kids do not have (yet) the right to choose their life style; you choose it for them. Engage them in physical activities outside of the home. In addition, enroll your child in a physical activity they might enjoy, such as gymnastics or dance.
Encourage them to join a school team or play outside with their friends. In the same way, it is important for parents to be role model for their kids and emphasize the importance of physical activities and healthy eating. In order for kids to have better eating habits these are some suggestions that the parents can do to help kids have better eating habits: Set limits on their television, computer and video games time. Parents can create healthy environments for their children by doing regular physical activities, such as biking, or walking together as a family.
Meanwhile, parents should encourage their children to participate in sports, dance, this allows children to develop appreciation of physical activity and enjoy exercising. Parents are the only ones who have the control over all these things. Kids may not notice that they are exercising but they are! Some people might argue that there are single parents who do not have the time to take their children to outdoor activities because they have to work long shifts, or they have two jobs, but there are free resources that those parents can take advantage of.
For example, schools have after schools programs in which it is involve physical activity, also there are community centers that offer free physical activities programs. It is more important to take personal responsibility instead of blaming the fast food industry because “the battle against fast food begins in the home,” and also by modeling healthy food choices and the norms parents set to their kids. In the same way, I do believe that if parents begin to worry about what their kids eat the entire nation will be benefit because preventing childhood obesity reduces the chances of adults obesity.
That is to say, childhood obesity depends on the parental guidance; for instance, the family home is an important place to learn about proper nutrition and physical activity. Attitudes, habits and beliefs about food selection and how to spend family time are critical factor to forming a healthy relationship with food. Exercise, home made meals, and natural foods will be the only way to combat the rising toll that fast food is taking over American children’s. To illustrate how my life has been affected by fast food and physical activity I will mention my own experience.
Although I ate all kind of junk food as a kid my mom encouraged me to play outside so I can get some exercise. As a kid I would get up at six in the morning and watch cartoons, jump around like a frog until my mom brought some chicken nuggets, soda, fries, and a hamburger. My mom worked so hard that she did not have the time nor the energy to cook for me, and most of the time my dad was not home. After eating my “breakfast”, I would leave to ride my bike or run. Next, by lunchtime I would go to a friend’s house to eat.
Of course I would eat something not healthy at all. Thereupon, we would eat some chips or something that we just throw in to the microwave and have it ready to eat in five minutes. Then, I would go back outside until it got dark. While I was in school I would have a snack every time I want to have it, and run around like crazy again. Essentially am arguing not that kids should eat fast food but that parents should monitor physical activities more closely. I know fast food is bad for children’s, but is also affordable for parents who work all day long.
In my opinion it is not just to stop eating the fast food; it is about moving. When you are exercising or moving around all day it is hard to gain weight. I had a lot of energy maybe due to all the sugars I was eating but still I have the energy to run and to play. In fact, by running and playing I burned all of those unnecessary calories. My mom was and still is and anti-technology mom. This means that instead of buying me a play station or a computer she would rather limit my television hours and let me outside to play.
Definitely, parents should encourage their kids to participate in outdoor activities, take the kid to the local park for a walk or organize a day to go fishing, and make trips to the fast food once a month event. By doing those changes on kids life, parent will balance their unhealthy habits and like that prevent them for gaining weight. Although I agree that it is the parent’s responsibility to teach their kids how to eat healthy, I also believe that fast food industry shares the blame for overweight children’s, which in most cases lead to obese consumers as adults.
Eventhough, parents have a big responsibility to ensure their kids how to eat healthy fast food marketing put parents in a very unfair position. Below are few reasons why fast food companies have a lot to answer for. Firs of all, Companies marketing are going directly to their kids. Unfortunately, young children are exceptionally receptive to what they hear and see because they lack the maturity to separate reality from marketing; this indeed, makes them vulnerable for marketing “eye”.
Fast food restaurants spend billions of dollars each year marketing their foods to children. Shannon Brownlee, a journalist on the Sacramento Bee, in her article, “its portion distortion that makes America fat”, explains how the fast food industry with its strategies of marketing lead to obesity in America. According to Shannon, “this is not to say that the folks in the fast food industry want us to be fat. But make no mistake: when they do well economically, we gain weight”.
In other words, Shannon believes that the only thing that the fast food industry cares about is the money; they don’t care if the marketing goes for children or for adults they just want to sell more and more of their products. These advertisings are not only on television, but also increasingly on the Internet and even video games. Without doubt, marketing that offers many attractions is luring children. Remarkably, to these children fast food is seen as far more attractive than a healthy meal prepared at home. They are responsible for marketing products that are unfit for kids consumption as real food.
Another fact of marketing is the manipulation that they have over kids. Many experts already claim that there is an ample evidence linking advertising to childhood obesity, “the CSPI report identifies plethora of ways that companies target kid in their homes, in their school, on the web, and whenever kids go” (CSPI hits marketing junk food for kids). In other words fat food industry realized that creating a “family friendly” environment brought business at the door. It also created lifelong consumers brought upon fast food.
In spite of, everyday children are bombarded with advertisings because kid’s vulnerability to persuasion using their favorite singers, actors and advertising toys to collect for the next season of the “happy meal”. According to “Eat this not that” by David Zinczenko, two thirds of all food advertising is geared toward children. Promoting kids meals with toys has been a good tactic for years. It helps to send the message that food equals happiness. Furthermore, Margo G. Woodan states,” Parents are fighting a losing battle against food manufactures nd fast food restaurants, which use aggressive an sophisticated techniques to get into children heads and prompt them to pester their parents to purchase the company’s products”(CSPI hits marketing junk food for kids). Advertisers will use every thrick to get kids interested in their merchandise. In sum, they advertise Saturday mornings, knowing that kids are home, they advertise after school hours and every minute. The fast food restaurants have playgrounds, happy meals, toys, French fries, chicken nuggets and fun sauces to dip. Billboards are consistently on the streets, showing scrumptious looking pizza and hamburgers.
Anyone familiar with the fast food techniques should agree that Advertising on television and in magazines become somewhat hypnotic for kids and even for the parent. For all that, fast food advertising for kids with their strategies harmful for their health certainly lives parents almost with tied hands to combat childhood obesity. Beyond advertising, I also believe that the menus on fast for restaurants have a lot to do with the overweight problem with children. First, fast food companies believe that bigger is better, offering large portions of almost everything in their menus for less money.
A drink that once would have been a “medium” gradually morphed to a “small” and from there it became “kids’ size”. French fries, which are essentially nutrionless and calorie-bombs, went from being a side dish to a part of the combo. Fast food companies argue that they have healthy options on their menus, and they say that they cannot take the responsibility of what people choose to eat. Of course, many fast food chains probably disagree on the grounds that no one forces anyone to by the fast food for their kids.
Some also argue that the fast food chains simply offer good food at a reasonable price; however the evidence shows that wherever fast food chains go, childhood obesity follows. The fast food chains share the responsibility by using a range of high fat and unhealthy ingredients Children’s are courted targeted by many fast food chains who promote big size portions and all you can eat offers. Jeanie lerche, it her article explains, “large portion sizes served in fast-food restaurants further contribute to overeating and obesity” (Fast food Creates Fat Kids).
In other words Jeanie believes that restaurants yield higher fats per serving along with unhealthy fats, which contribute, to kids overweight. Those servings are full of calories that the body of the kids do not need, their body simply is not designed to eat the high calorie food, which, indeed transform healthy kids to fat-obese kids. Fast food restaurants increase their portion sizes to convince you of getting a good deal. In short, as kids eat more and more frequently they become accustomed to those super sized portions and think that such portions are “normal”.
Fast food is affordable; being able to upsize a meal for a very minimal fee has made many our kids’ gluttons indeed. Good healthful foods cost more money and take more time to prepare, for that reason, In our fast food society, it is often much easier to drive through a McDonald’s than it is to cook a meal and eat it. Would you rather get a few vegetables from the market or a whole meal including: four tacos, a soda, and a hamburger for the same price? Fast food meals are not only convenient, they are often very cheap. The fact that fast food is cheap and quick is no coincidence.
It is hard to avoid being drowned into the world of fast food. For instance, the ingredients on salty French fires dry you mouth out, so a large coke is necessary, too. As we can see, the fast food companies have everything so maliciously prepare, so we as the parents buy their products almost by instinct. Currently, with the strict economic times diner at fast food restaurant may even cost less than preparing dinner at home. Although, not all people think alike, some of them will probably dispute my claim arguing that we live in a busy life and that we are always on the go, but do not allow obesity to spread in your home.
Take responsibility and change your life style in order for kids to have a healthier future. This is a valid reason to blame fast food chains for obesity. Unfortunately, cheaper foods are easier to acquire but they lack of nutritional values and are high in calories and fat. Controlling childhood obesity depends on parental guidance, yet the fast food industry splits the culpability of kids getting overweight. The food industry overall could do substantially more to limit children exposure to food that are unhealthy .
For example, there are fast food restaurants virtually around every corner, and the kids have easy access to snack food s full of saturated fats and sugars in their schools. Fast food chains should limit the attractiveness for kids and have the calorie pamphlet handy on every meal of their menus. In addition, obese parents are more likely to have obese children. The reason for this is because obese parents probably pass down their poor habits to their children. It follows that; television and video games are regular activities that help children avoid exercise.
When we combine the lack of exercising and the poor choices in food there is high chance that childhood obesity will end up causing a problem for children. As parents you should choose healthier menus in restaurants, make eating enjoyable and healthy by preparing food together as a family. Fast food should be limited and reserved for special occasions. Get kids moving; get them outdoors so they can enjoy having some exercise. Go for long walks, play tag, dance with them! Let’s be sure that in a future, when parents will be asked about whom to blame on childhood obesity, the parent can say with a clear conscience that it’s not us…
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