ADOLESCENTS OF LOW INCOME ARE MORE PRONE TO OBESITY
Obesity has become an international problem, but more so in the United States. I remember visiting Canada and every time a Canadian sees a very obese person passing by, they call him/her out as “oh he/she must be American” and to my dislike they were right most of the time. American society is battling with obesity at every socio-economic level, but the numbers show that adolescents of low-income families are more likely to be obese than those of above-average economical resources. I believe that there are four major reasons why low-income adolescents are more likely to be obese. The high prices of good quality foods have a great impact of accessibility to those who can’t afford to buy such products. A strong marketing force for junk food has proven to be a direct contributor to obesity in America. The lack of jobs for adolescents in this economy has been increasing, creating a bigger hole to succumb to inadequate nutrition. And finally a study reveals that teenagers of low-income families are less likely to engage in physical activities.
The most afflicting reason why poor families are more likely to be obese is the high prices of good quality foods (e.g. fresh meat, vegetables, fruits, etc.). When the head of the family is only making minimum wage, it’s not difficult to make the most economical choice between vegetables being three dollars per pound and processed canned products for 79 cents. It is obvious that when it comes to saving money families in need will go for the cheaper option. Supermarkets have higher prices on their organic products (Beydoun, Powell, & Wang, 2008). The inability to obtain fresh fruits and vegetables has been associated with a number of health deficiencies in the teenage population (Beydoun, Powell, & Wang, 2008). This is due to the fact that supermarkets have more preserved or canned items on sale than natural organic foods. As we can often see when watching shows such as “extreme couponing” from TLC, the people in the show often get out of there with hundreds of dollars in merchandise, but the kind of products they are getting are not recommended if you wish to keep a healthy diet. It is a fact that if one only consumes frozen products and energy drinks (which is what the people in that show mostly get) the hospital is sure to be a constant stop. In general, the consumption of good quality foods depends in the price of the produce. Lowering and promoting the prices of vegetables and fruits will stimulate families to obtain them (Beydoun, Powell, & Wang, 2008).
The second reason of why teenagers are becoming obese is the abundant marketing of junk food. The strong marketing of fast food is a direct contributor to obesity in America. Chain restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, etc. have invested $4.2 billion on marketing (Chew, 2011). That is just $1.8 billion short of what the presidential candidates combined spent during the election (Zeleny, 2012). In a comparison: the election happens every four years, and the marketing from the food chain restaurants we are exposed to is all year long. So every four years food chain restaurants spend about $16.8 billion to get us to consume their products. There are very few places in the United States where you don’t see a fast food advertisement (Chew, 2011). The advertisements are on the road, in parks, on buses, and everywhere anyone can think of. One can’t even remember when it was the last time to have watched TV without any fast-food commercials (Chew, 2011). As shown by F.A.C.T.S., this aggressive marketing technique is working. Young people’s exposure to fast food TV ads has increased in comparison to 2003 (2012). Forty percent of parents report that their children have asked them to go to a fast food restaurant rather than to go play (F.A.C.T.S. 2012). According to a F.A.C.T.S. survey, teenagers were found to have ordered more fast food than any other age...
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