Childhood obesity is a dangerous, ever-growing epidemic, which spans all categories of ethnicity, race, and family income. Obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years, which means that if this trend continues American children may face a shorter expected lifespan than their parents. The health consequences of this disease are numerous and alarming; heart disease, type II diabetes, several types of cancer, and are common consequences. Prevention measures include educating children on the dangers of obesity, encouraging regular physical activity, teaching how to eat in moderation, and providing healthy food options in the child’s home. Not surprisingly, eating habits as young children often escalate with age, and therefore most children who are obese have a seventy percent chance of becoming overweight as an adult. For this reason, drastic measures need to be taken in order to prevent bad habits and overeating in children so as to prevent repercussions later on.
While there are many causes for obesity in children, the most pressing and direct reasons for childhood overweight in America is due to the unhealthy methods the food manufactures inflict on the diets of children. Companies are so profit driven that they are misleading consumers, falsely advertising, and adding unhealthy preservatives to all food groups. Most of the food corporations make the majority of their profit by marketing to children, who are not developed enough to make informed decisions about what foods they should be consuming. Furthermore, food companies are adding inordinate amounts of sugar, salt, and fat to everyday products such as milk, cereal, and sauce, so even the healthy products are considered dangerous.
Watch this great video about the sugar, salt, and fat that food companies add to children’s foods.
Parents are no longer confidant that they are providing the necessary nutrients children need in their food. In order to address the issue head on, the federal government needs to pass more legislation to regulate advertisements on television, levy federal and state excise taxes on sugared beverages and processed foods, and communicate more effectively with the public as to what they are consuming.
Many attempts have been made in the past to address this issue from different angles. Organizations and lobbyists have tried to pass legislation to regulate big companies in the food industry, but many corrupt businesses continue pay legislators for their support. Furthermore, The Obamas health initiative, many obesity action coalitions, and other national movements have tried to raise awareness of the disease and encourage Americans to create healthier environments for their families. However, these organizations can only do so much when the food and beverage industry has created such a powerful influence over the government. Although these methods are a good start, strict government action is needed in order to end the disease once and for all. For this white paper, I am addressing the federal and state legislators, and explaining the causes and solutions that they should take to regulate the food and beverage industry and prevent childhood obesity once and for all.
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