Fast Food and the Risk of Childhood Obesity

Topics: Obesity, Nutrition, Fast Food Nation Pages: 5 (1782 words) Published: September 21, 2009
The fast food industry promotes childhood obesity by manipulating the young mind, putting them at risk for health complications such as hypertension and diabetes. The super-sizing of America is been a frequently talked about subject lately. Especially since it is seem to have negative effects on the health of children and adults alike through massive consumption of fast food. Health providers and other authority figures are now concerned about children’s obesity rates shown during the past 3-4 decades. They have now drawn a close connection between fast food and obesity and identified a childhood obesity epidemic with increased negative health factors. According to the American journal of public health, 2005 September issue, fast food retail sales in the United States have increased 900% from $16.1 billion in 1975 to a projected $153.1 billion in 2004, during the past 3 decades. The numbers of fast food restaurants targeting child and adolescent customers are found to be clustered around schools. With the addicting flavors and affordability of fast food has contributed to adjusting the young minds gradually to grab the quick lunch without second thought. Apart from the many types of fast food offered inside the school cafeteria, Studies have shown the fast food restaurant outlets are multiplying around the school grounds and neighborhood. The American Journal of Public Health estimated that there are 3 to 4 times as many fast-food restaurants within 1.5 km from schools than would be expected if the restaurants were located around the city in a way unrelated to schools. They also reveals that the median distance between any school to the nearest fast food restaurant is only 0.5km, which means, there is only a walk of little more than 5 mints for any kid to grab that delicious treat. Some schools in the nation have already begun the fight against the fast food epidemic, although they’re a much less percentage of the whole. The marketing strategies used by fast food brands mostly target children and adolescents. In his book Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser describes the history of child marketing explaining the concept of ‘kid kustomers’ McDonalds was the first fast food chain to direct their marketing towards kids. Schlosser explains how McDonalds took on the certain strategy from Disney, who by the time had understood the way to success is approaching the kids and who intern will attract a third party to the equation. They understood that the best way to make sales with adults was to lure the children who would keep whining until they got what they want. The fast food industry does not stop until it would possibly attract every single kid kustomer possible. Beginning with famous cartoon characters, the fast food industry started giving away free toys to children as compliment. They promoted unique collections of the current child attractions of super heroes and other toys such as stuffed animals and army troops. The constant advertising of such collector’s editions, scratch and wins, party hosting ides with fun activities and also, the building of personal play grounds with structures was and still is a major attraction strategy used by the fast food industry. They know how to manipulate a young mind in to thinking that love and care is about giving you food that tastes so good, and giving away free toys. The sole problem is not in just the types of fast food that is served in fast food restaurants-which are obviously fatty, oily and high in sugar content-but also in the portions. The portion size was drastically increased over the past couple of decades, bringing the once ‘Large’ size portion as the now ‘small’ size and having 5 categories as small, medium, large, supersize and combo meals in the ascending order. The trick is, every time you go for the next bigger portion, the customers are made believe that they get more for less price, in turn making the sale a worthwhile exchange. Since it is all about the visual of...
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