Stop Playing the Blame Game Essay
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Growing up children love to eat at McDonalds, Burger King, or their local pizza place. The fast food industry offers prepackaged, unhealthy foods that are marketed through advertisements and media as a kid friendly quick breakfast, lunch or dinner. Many blame obesity in children and young adults in the easy access to fast food. Is it fair to suggest that the numerous fast food places that are available are the leading factor in the increase of obesity amongst children? There are other factors that should be considered such as parents, lack of exercise, numerous amounts of hours spent in front of the television.
David Zinczenko’s article “Don’t Blame the Eater” supports the hypothesis that the increase in obesity is caused by the easy access, affordable, numerous fast food restaurants that are available. He argues the availability of healthier food options by writing, “drive down any thoroughfare in America, and I guarantee you’ll see one of our country’s more than 13,000 McDonald’s restaurants.
Now, drive back up the block and try to find someplace to buy a grapefruit” (Zinczenko 392). He utilizes his own personal story being raised by a single mother who worked two jobs and did not have a large amount of income coming in.
Zinczenko notes, “By age 15, I had packed 212 pounds of torpid teenage tallow on my once lanky 5-foot-10 frame” (Zinczenko 392). He listed choices such as, Taco Bell and McDonalds as his daily meal choices due to the lack of healthy choices and alternatives that aligned with his situation as a child. Is extra weight he gained as a child Taco Bell’s fault? To some, this claim could be seen as ridiculous and lacks personal responsibility. Helen Lee reports on a study she performed to argue the hypothesis that local food availability such as fast food, and convenience stores explain the obesity increase and risk among school aged children.
Helen Lee performed a study on school aged in children in low income and high income households. Lee utilized different tools and resources to report on children’s BMI and how it changes over time. The study brought attention to some astonishing results. Contrary to Zinczenko’s claim that grocery stores and healthier food choices are limited, Lee’s study finds that, “poor and minority neighborhoods not only have greater access to fast-food restaurants and convenience stores; they also have access to large-scale grocery stores and full service restaurant’s” (Lee).
She also confirms from her research study that, “food outlet exposure holds no independent relationship to child weight gain” (Lee). Obesity in Children cannot solely be blamed on fast food services. Parents play a leading role in what their children consume. Lee provides relevant factors explaining obesity risk among young children: “For example, poor self-reported parental health is significantly associated with higher risk of weight gain, suggesting a relationship between parental health and child health.
Television viewing is a highly significant predictor of BMI gains over time. For every additional hour per day of television viewing, there is a predicted 1. 5 percentile gain in BMI ranking by the end of fifth grade. Physical activity level is also important: increases in the number of days per week the child engaged in exercise significantly reduced their BMI gains”. (Lee) With this information it is safe to conclude that it is time to stop playing the blame game with your children’s health as well as your own.
Take responsibility of your actions and live responsibly so that you may teach others to do the same. Works Cited Lee, Helen. “The Role of Local Food Availability in Explaining Obesity Risk Among Young School-Aged Children. ” Social Science & Medicine 74. 8 (2012): 1193-1203. Social Sciences Full Text (H. W. Wilson).
Web. 24 Feb. 2013. Zinczenko, David. “Don’t Blame the Eater. ” They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing with Readings. Graff, Gerald. Cathy Birkenstein. Russel Durst. New York: Norton, 2012. 391-394. Print.