In a recent article from CBS News, it was found out that the percentage of obesity in United States has risen to alarming levels. What is frightening about this statistics is that nearly one third of children in the US aged 4-19 consume six extra pounds every year which jeopardizes their health by making them vulnerable to obesity (Holguin 2003). This is no wonder considering the fact that billions of dollars are allocated to the ludicrous amount of fast food advertising and ubiquitous franchises that virtually leaves the public saturated with high-calorie and low-fiber diet.
I am writing to you to explain how detrimental it is for children to consume abnormal amounts of fast food, so that in your capacity as president of a leading fast food chain, you can consider this information and alter the way your products are produced and marketed. It is true that food intake is a matter of individual responsibility. However, in case of children, marketing plays a powerful part in controlling their choices. One of the biggest culprits that make fast food so appealing to children is the marketing of meals with toys.
The idea behind associating fast food with toys is to attract a bigger slice of the market since kids would usually be accompanied by their families when they go out to get burger, fries and the latest toy craze. The motto of fast food marketing is to attract kids with “toys, toys, toys” (Schlosser 2001, 46). Even the facilities and playground section in most fast food chains seem to be a part of marketing this unhealthy food. Advertising, of course, would not reveal how unhealthy the meals that come with the toys are.
The high calorie content of these meals comes from heavy frying and large amounts of sugar that appeal to the taste buds of children. Studies show that babies prefer the sweet taste and reject the bitter ones (Schlosser 2001). As such, fast food meals become “comfort foods” for children because of the addicting experience they have when they consume it (Schlosser 2001, 123). Another problem in preparation of meals in fast food restaurants is the use of hydrogenated oil for frying (Gosline 2006).
Hydrogenated oil or trans-fats are hazardous because they increase the risk of heart attack (Gosline 2006). Obesity is another outcome of a steady consumption of high-calorie diet. Although companies promote exercise and having an active lifestyle, these are no compensation for consuming more than the required calories for a day. Obesity is not the final result of a high-calorie diet because it branches out and causes myriad of other health problems including diabetes which attack body systems making it susceptible to host of other diseases and organ failures.
Presently, the media, specifically producers of eye-opening documentaries and books, and policy-makers are making efforts to inform the public of the hazards of fast food. These efforts are meant to protect our children from developing unhealthy habits and eventually developing body malfunctions. It is my advocacy that people, including those who are involved the industry of fast food, are informed of the repercussions of unchecked, unbalanced and irresponsible production and consumption of this modern day health hazard.
Only through information can we be aware of the dangers that we have been so accustomed to patronize. Sincerely yours, [author]
References Gosline, A. (2006). “Why fast foods are bad, even in moderation. ” News Scientist Health. Retrieved 25 January 2009 from http://www. newscientist. com/article/dn9318. Holguin, J. (2003). “Fast Food linked to Child Obesity. ” CBS News. Retrieved 25 January 2009 from http://www. cbsnews. com/stories/2004/01/05/health/main591325. shtml. Schlosser, E. (2001). Fast Food Nation The dark side of the all-american meal. NY: Hughton Mifflin
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