Obesity

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Obesity Among Young Americans

Michelle LeDrappier
Professor Tovey VanAulen
College English
October 29, 2010

LeDrappier, 1
Michelle LeDrappier
Professor Tovey VanAulen
College English
October 29, 2010
Obesity Among Young Americans
Children are filled with energy and youth, but something is increasingly slowing them down. Child obesity has become one of the major epidemics in America today. The twenty-first generation is the only one whose members may be expected to have shorter life spans than their parents. One may think this is hard to believe, but obesity is a deadly disease and is spreading rapidly throughout the nation. This is a serious outbreak considering the fact that according to the World Health Organization, “6 % of children, over 9 million 6-13 year olds are overweight or obese. This is three times what it was in 1980” (Childhood Overweight and Obesity). All children who are obese are in danger because of all of the side effects that go along with obesity; not only do these children have a higher risk of staying obese as they become adults, but there are many health risks as well. Some of these side effects include heart problems and trouble breathing. America’s children today are being raised around bad influences such as fast, the addiction to technology, and what they are being fed by their family. All of these factors come into play, but there are some good influences too. What gives America hope to cure this disease is the endeavor to help children eat healthy. Good influences include pedestrians raising awareness, the government’s contribution of campaigns, and school districts promoting healthy snacks and mandatory gym/play time. As much as this nation tries to prevent childhood obesity, statistics show that factors that contribute to obesity such as fast food, television, and family behavior defeat all of the efforts to eliminate child obesity in America. LeDrappier, 2

There are many harmful influences that affect a child’s eating habits and what he or she wants to eat. A child’s choice is without a doubt due to the fast food advertising, from commercials to billboards that have an enormous impact on kids. One of the most well known fast food industries in the world would be McDonald’s. This fast food restaurant is successful in portion size, broadcasting, and location.

McDonald’s food portions are bigger than ever; even the happy meal would not be suitable for a healthy meal. Ever since their infamous “Supersize” option, the amount of calories has skyrocketed. According to recent studies, “It's hard to believe the Big Mac was considered large when McDonald's introduced it 40 years ago. Today the Big Mac's roughly 3 ounces of meat are puny compared to the new mega-burgers. When McDonald’s first opened, a soda was 7 ounces. Today, the child size is 12 ounces, a small is 16 ounces, and the large 32 ounces” (Woodard). This statistic shows that portion sizes will only get bigger, as well as the children eating it.

Secondly, the locations of these restaurants are everywhere. Studies show that, “there are more than 12,800 McDonald’s in the United States” (Childhood Obesity in America). McDonald’s is only one fast food restaurant out of so many in America, imagine how many there are all together.

Lastly, there comes the advertising of commercials that grab the children’s attention right away. With the catchy songs, logos, and cartoon depiction kids are tuned in right away. For fast food restaurants, like McDonald’s, commercials are always being presented on children television networks. The kids network Nickelodeon for example, “will advertize McDonald’s at least twenty times a day” (Woodard). Many children are infatuated with these fast food industries and maybe a little bit knowledgeable of something so bad for them. An example of children being too familiar with fast food advertising would be from the documentary movie, Super Size Me. This film has the main character interview...
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