Too Little Too Late in the Battle Against Childhood Obesity

A blog article by Bonniejean Alford (educator, activist, world citizen)

I haven’t stepped into a McDonald’s in over ten years now, except once to solicit a donation for a charity auction (thankfully they said no).  And I once worked at a McDonald’s.  I don’t miss it all.  For that matter, I have almost fully eliminated fast food from my life.  The most I eat is a pizza now and then from a place that uses healthy ingredients (and ironically is anything but fast in their delivery) and Jimmy Johns (who while delivered super fast I would argue is not actually fast food).

Am I satisfied?

Absolutely.  My whole being is satisfied by the balanced diet I eat.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not deny myself anything. If I want potato chips, I eat them.  If I want cake, I eat a piece.  I learned early on in my life not to deny my body’s cravings, but have finally learned to control the actual intake, only eating enough to satisfy the need but not overdo it.

That aside, though, I am concerned by an article I read in the Tribune about McDonald’s adding a piece of fruit to each Happy Meal at the expense of the downsized french fries (York, 2011).  Apparently, it is a move aimed at stopping childhood obesity.  A little late and definitely not enough to put an end to the problem.

Do the people at McDonald’s really think that offering a piece of genetically engineered fruit that has been who knows where will do anything to prevent kids from becoming obese?   How do they plan to be certain kids will actually eat the fruit: smother it in a sugary coating?  Quite frankly, I think it is just a marketing ploy to make people think that McDonald’s actually gives a damn about its customers rather than the bottom line, a bottom line that is struggling in nearly every industry.  Fast food is just another victim of the bad economy.

But more than that, fast food is also a victim of a society realizing that the McDonaldization factor regarding the efficiency, speed, and sameness of food served in places like McDonald’s is not necessarily good for one’s health.  Sure, from a business perspective McDonalization and the increased global interconnectedness is a highly profitable corporate structure, one that McDonald’s introduced to the world so long ago it is as if it has always been a part of American existence (Ritzer, 2002).

But it hasn’t been.

There was actually a time long ago when people walked to their destinations, made their own food in their homes, and did not carry with them hundreds of extra pounds.  Today, we rely on cars to take us everywhere, even if just down the block.  There are people who have never even turned on a stove/oven, let alone actually prepared a meal from scratch.  And the obesity epidemic in America is spreading to other nations.  The fear of obesity is so great that in some places, like New Zealand, they will even deny a visa to a promising student because her BMI is too high.

I won’t deny that obesity is a major problem in society, a problem that has led to many other health issues.  But we need more than the band-aid offered by McDonald’s, who is indeed a major contributor to the problem.

As Jamie Oliver pointed out in his food revolution, while we all need to take responsibility we also need to figure out where the problem stems from, and make changes, drastic changes.  We need to overhaul school lunch menus, eliminating processed foods.  We need to offer affordable, healthy, and tasty options at “fast food” places, since people will not stop going to them.  We need to encourage and educate the masses on the importance of a balanced diet, beyond that stupid pyramid from times gone by.  And most importantly, we need to make it fun and exciting to create new recipes and eat healthy.

My husband, among many others, often complains that vegetables just don’t taste good.  I, of course disagree, but recognize that we live in a society where parents don’t always have control over what their kids eat and the consequence is a society of kids and adults that don’t know or like vegetables, let alone what is in the food they eat.

This is a problem, a major problem.

I am not saying that all people should like all things.  But parents need to teach their kids about eating healthy from an early age, period!  For instance, when I was young, due to a rare blood disorder I have, I was never told I had to eat this or that.  I was only told I had to try everything three times before I dismiss it.  Often, by the third try, it turns out I actually liked it, or at least could eat it.

I was never told I had eat all my vegetables, and yet I did.  My mother instilled in me the knowledge of what was good for me, but didn’t force it upon me.  Maybe we were just lucky because the doctor’s told her “just let her eat whatever she wants and she will get the iron she needs,” an attitude my mother passed on to my siblings as well.  Of course, this was before the extreme inundation of processed foods, synthetically fortified foods, and genetically engineered hybrids.  In saying this, I have to acknowledge that in some cases this isn’t necessarily bad.  But as a general rule, food that leaves you hungry and craving more of the crap you just ate until it becomes an addiction is a major societal injury.

But we CAN heal!

We simply need a true and everlasting food revolution, one in which our society changes its outlook on food production and consumption.  Only then can the wounds of unhealthy eating return to a state of well being.

Bibliography
Ritzer, George.  2002.  McDonaldization, The Reader.  Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press.

York, Emily Bryson.  2011.  “Happy Meal to tilt at Obesity.” Chicago Tribune, July 26, 2011.  Website: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0726-happy-meal-20110726,0,1581970.story

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130 thoughts on “Too Little Too Late in the Battle Against Childhood Obesity

  1. I believe it is in part the parent’s fault as well. Because they have control over their children. If the kids want to go eat at McDonalds, but they already went the other day the parents should take control and say “No”. In my opinion, fast food places are good once a week, but not all the time. If parents have their kids in sports, that makes all the difference, because they are always active then. When I was a child my mother put me in a lot of sports and I stayed fit even when I was eating at fast food places. With the piece of fruit in the happy meal, I believe that is just a stepping stone for children to start eating the right foods.

    1. I agree that it is the parents fault. Kids learn from example, and parents are the number one role model in a child’s life. I also agree with the fact that if a child or adult needs to eat fast food in moderation, it is fine. I think that fast food companies have people addicted to its food just by convenience, price, and average taste. Being active is another important component that should be implemented today. There are many benefits to it such as burning off the fast food quicker as well as decreasing the cravings you have for fast food.

    2. I think another thing that needs to be mentioned when discussing topics like this, is that Americans seem to be losing and understanding of moderation. There are many unhealthy habits, fast food included, which when done in moderation are practically harmless. However, people seem to want to be entirely satisfied, and moderation tends to promote contentment. And when people give in to this kind of gluttony, they seem surprised by the results. They know that what they’re doing isn’t healthy, but continue to do it, sometimes each and every day.

    3. I definitely agree with you Nichk. It all starts with the parents. They are the ones who let their children to pick what they want to eat. Truth might be, that their parents might not be any different. Many of them grew up in the culture of consumerism and don’t know any better. On a greater scale, obesity becomes a big issue in this country.

    4. When we as a society can slow down and return to some of the old ways of this country, then and only then will obesity end. When men can be the bread winners and women stay at home to raise kids, we wil be better off.Though this new age finds that staying at home is boring and worthless. How much more worth can be in the responsiblity of raising the next generation(s) of society. While we all sit and complain about how insenstive others are and what is the world coming to, we have created our society and its ills. Running a home and rasining children use to be an admirable position, but we women are too busy trying to prove to men that we dont need them and we can open our own doors (thanks womens lib) to see how our children, who are members of society are lacking in all areas. There is a place and time for everything. If the job of teaching our children did not rely soley on the academic teachers, we might have some unity and parenting and teaching would return to a pleasurable state. we cannot blame others for our own mistakes.

    5. I have to agree I feel that fast food chains will never just disappear though. You’d be shocked at the amount of people that actually rely on fast food restaurants for their three daily meals. I can’t even lie though I use to be that way before. I felt that I was always on the go, so I felt that I just couldn’t make time to make myself some food. I feel that the majority of the reason why we are always at fast food chains is because as Americans were always on the go running from one place to another. By the time we actually make it home, we just want to have dinner and rest. I started experiencing feeling very lazy in the morning and it wasn’t because of the lack of sleep. I would always make sure to get at the very least eight hours of sleep. I knew that my diet was probably the cause for me feeling so tired the majority of the time. I took action and started preparing myself meals of small portions and make it through the day fine. I feel that parents have plenty to do with how children eat. Many times parents are lazy or just feel that it’s so much easier to just pick up something from the drive thru and give it to the kids. Therefore, I don’t believe it’s too late to go against child obesity. It’s very well possible. It just takes a little time and motivation to wanting to live a healthier lifestyle.

    6. I completely agree with this statement. There is no way that these children could be getting their hands on this food with out their parents consent. It is sad when a child’s health falls by the wayside because a parent is too busy or lazy to cook a proper meal for them. In this day and age, there should be no need to feed your children these horrible things McDonald’s likes to call “food”, because there are so many other options that are quick and easy as well. Also if there is ever a day when there is absolutely no time to make a meal there are so many healthier alternatives now. Parents really need to step up and take control of their child’s health, because if don’t they, who will?

      1. I agree that parents do need to step up and give their kids good food. Modern day times have made the “on-the-go” idea the main focus. Parents drop their kids off at school where they eat less than adequate food and are picked up just to be given more bad food like McDonalds just for convenience. If the mentality of parents change to where they want their children to live long and healthy lives by feeding them healthier choices then obesity can end. It all starts with the parents and once that has changed their is no way places like McDonalds can thrive.

    7. I agree with you Nickk, however i believe that sometimes thats all the parents can afford. It is completely the parents choice on what their kids eat but when they have a low financial income it is sometimes their only choice to get something off the dollar menu instead of buying vegetables and fruit at the expensive grocery store. I concur with the writer of this article that is time for a food revolution and consumer change. Obesity rates need to drop and the time is now.

    8. Agree that it is a parent’s fault for not being able to say no to their children. When me and my sisters were young we always wanted to eat at McDonalds. My mom on the other hand hated eating fast food. She always tried to make us eat at home before we left the house all the time. We were never in sports. So I guess if my mom was never strict on eating fast food we would have been part of the percentage of being obese. The point is parents are a big influence as to what their children eat.

  2. By the way one more point that needs to be mentioned. In your article you stated that “fast food is just another victim of the bad economy,” implying that McDonald’s bottom line is hurting. On the contrary McDonald’s is flourishing in this economy. They are selling more fast food because people can’t afford to go out and treat their family to a well balanced meal. Which I think means that the obesity problem in our country is growing at a much faster pace.

    1. Very good point Nick. Mc Donalds is not struggling in this economy. In fact Mc Donalds has just reinvested billions of dollars in renovating their look across America and the world. A question always comes to mind when discussing corporations like Mc Donalds is, does Mc Donalds have a corporate responsibility to their consumer to limit their intake of there product? Cigarette companies have to tell their consumers smoking is harmful and alcohol companies tell their consumer to drink responsibly. So shouldn’t fast food chains explain that their product may cause childhood obesity. If there are studies shown that over eating of fast food is linked to this issue of obesity then why aren’t there warning labels on food to indicate this like on cigarette packs? Thanks

      1. I was very impressed with your solution to child obesity starting with McDonalds and all fast food restaurants being required to have warning labels on their packaging as a beginning solution to child obesity. Something has to be done to begin to address the obesity problem in this country. Fast food is not healthy and a warning label would definitely reinforce the message every time a parent buys a happy meal for their child, or even a Big Mac for themselves. If fast food companies don’t make an effort to educate and inform the consumer of the obesity dangers in their products then maybe, just like cigarette companies, television and radio advertising of fast food restaurants, should also be banned. Now that will really cut into their profits! Offer more healthy food or lose the right to advertise… I bet the menu will change pretty quick!

      2. I think there are several problems with a simple comparison of fast food to cigarettes. Firstly, that cigarettes are not a necessary requirement for a human being to continue living. Secondly, unlike cigarettes, food does not cause a physical addiction. Cigarettes are addictive due to the nicotine and simply smoking something without nicotine wouldn’t be effective, while a person has the option to choose whatever they want to eat to satisfy themselves. Finally, eating a balanced diet can improve the health of a person, while there is no possible benefit from smoking that outweighs its risks.

    2. NIck, you make a good point, with the downfall of the economy, there are easily industries that fall along with it such as the fast food industry as well as the automotive industry. Families are being sucked into these fast food companies because they may not be able to afford to feed their family with a home cooked meal considering the cost differences. That is actually a huge factor as to how fast food consumption most likely increased. What about the quality of food that fast food chains offer now versus their quality of food say 50 years ago? Do you think there is a difference?

      1. Nick, I love this comment because I think it would be funny to see fast food restaurants being banned from advertising. Mainly because that is almost all you see in commercials, is how many burgers you can buy with this amount of money. I think banning this would have a HUGE impact on society and the fast food market. When people see the commercials, they think “oh wow that looks so good, gotta go get one” but if they didn’t see the visual stimulant then they wouldn’t be as tempted to go out and get these grease infested burgers.

      2. Madelyn, I don’t think that in most cases, people can only afford to feed their families at fast food prices. I think the real deciding factor is the opportunity-cost: instead of having to spend time preparing the food, all the person has to do is go through a drive-thru. Americans are either trying to make more time for work, and thus money, or are trying to use less effort during time they perceive to be leisure time. So if they have the option of relaxing while someone prepares their food or spending time in a grocery store and then more time in a kitchen, they’ll likely take the lazy way.

  3. In the American society we have been accustomed to instant gratification and this bleeds over to all facets of life. Fast food intake needs to be closely monitored by parents. As I child I remembered go to Mc Donalds maybe once a month but it seems that parents are more busy so fast food is a first option. Mc Donalds is an easy scapegoat to blame for obesity but I believe parents should educate their children on the dangers of over eating of greasy food. “Super Size Me” was a dramatic display of what Mc Donalds can do to someone but Morgan Spurlock’s comment when he says that some people do eat Mc Donalds every day. Socierty in this age knows the dangers of overeating of fast food but some choose to simply ignore the evidence.

    1. This is actually a really good point. Overeating fast food does contribute more than just eating it once a week. The movie ‘Super Size Me” was a dramatic display but it was neccessary to let people know the effects if heavily consumed. Parents should educate about overeating and it is vital that they show their children early. By going to places such as McDonalds only once a week or every two weeks, then children will not see the fast food chain as something that is okay to eat heavily. Depending on how often parents ALLOW their children to eat fast food while they are young could influence how much they eat when they are on their own.

  4. Parents play a huge role in childhood obesity. At a young age parents are cooking/ feeding their children. At that point in time, children should know what a balanced home cooked meal should consist of. Although when kids grow up to be around 7 years or older, they can decide about what they like and what they want to eat. Parents also need to stop making fast food as well as unhealthy snacks so available for children because it gets engraved into the mind that if my parents think its ok to eat this, then why not continue to consume it? Healthy options are available after the crisis or epidemic starts, but what motivation would a consumer have to choose the healthy one after years of eating the same fatty food? People and children nowadays are optimistic about healthy options, but what if those options are not enough to decrease obesity? Then who are we going to blame next considering we do this to ourselves by choice?

    1. Parents have a responsibility over their child until their child can buy their own food with their own money. Many time parents just give their kids money and send them off to school. Parents need to be involved in their child’s diet but this can be accomplished with out compulsion or obsession. One fact we are forgetting is that childhood obesity isn’t just from eating it is also a lack of exercise. Parents need to encourage their children to be active in sports or other recreation. There is a fearful attitude among parents that their child is going to be kidnapped. This don’t let your kid play after dark is brought upon too much TV. People can be aware without being anxious. We as Americans create anxiety for ourselves not from thinking but a lack of thinking. We have become an emotional response type of people instead of a rational response people. We have lost our minds and have become lost in our emotions. Too much food and not enough exercise leads to weight gain. I know people have medical conditions that lead to weight gain but many times we condition ourselves into obesity.

      1. I am glad you brought this point up! Parents do need to reinforce the idea of exercise and playing for an hour a day. When I was younger, almost everyday when I got back from school my brother and I would change and go out and play until it was dark out then go back inside. I loved those days and even today I still try to get some form of exercise in. Because of my parents letting me go play everyday, I come to love some types of exercises and that helped me not to be obese. We did eat McDonalds heavily but my parents knew it’s effects and tried to let us go out and play. Thanks for bringing up this point.

  5. I think this is very true and parents as well as the society needs to put a lot more effort into fixing this problem rather than just putting a piece of probably gross fruit into the McDonald’s menu. I too, don’t ever really eat at fast food restaurants anymore because I know how bad it is for my health and I don’t even know what I’m eating half the time, ha ha. I have also realized that I don’t even need it. I don’t even trust the salads there when I’m in a situation where I’d have to get McDonald’s. Childhood obesity is because of parents not controlling what their kids to enough. They just give in to what the kid wants. Parents also are getting lazy and just getting fast food because it is easier than home cooking. I personally would much rather have something homemade because it generally tastes better and I actually know what I’m eating. Also, schools don’t help this at all because they are serving a bunch of processed crap for kids to choose from. The school where my little brother goes is attempting to have healthier choices, though. Serving more whole grains and vegetables. Also, having “meatless Mondays”. The whole economy thing where people can’t afford food so they go to eating fast food..I think their is a lot of grocery stores that have at least some cheap enough food that you could eat that would be much healthier to have than McDonald’s.

  6. Vlad, Nick, and Madelyn you all make such good points about this topic that it is hard to add anything, but I am going to do my best, seeing that this is a major issue in America! I never had to worry about my weight until I hit about 25 when my metabolism really slowed down and anything I ate extra or didn’t work off just added on. I was very active as a young boy, I was thin and one of the fastest kids around, playing all the sports. Kids now a days are playing to many video games, to much online play, to much sitting around and they get bored. To add to the apathy of life in this technical age, parents are feeding their kids crap. Lets face it McDonald’s’ is pretty much crap food as we witnessed in “Super Size Me”, great movie by the way. Even though that movie really had an impact on the way I view McDonald’s I still eat there. Especially now that I am a student again and working full time, it is just easier to eat on the go and that sucks, because I love to cook at home. But, for breakfast its usually the egg Mc muffin and I have even been ordering the new chicken sandwich, grilled of course. It is one thing for a grown adult to eat to much or not eat the right stuff, but we have got to watch out for our children in this country. Child and obesity has no right even being in the same sentence together. Cook the kids a nice home meal at least 5 days a week and keep them involved in sports or just keep them active, one or the other.

    1. I agree that it is much easier to get the quick and easy food while we live our busy lives so I think that the food industry should try and do something to make the fast food healthier. Not by adding the gross fake “good for you” stuff but really making the food healthier. I don’t think it would take that much effort and money to do so. Also, video games have effected kids lives greatly and have made them into hermits. I know my brother at least loves to just sit inside all day with some friends and play halo all day. I honestly don’t think I could do that anymore, I would get bored and restless. I used to be able to do that but now that I have realized how unhealthy and just..a waste of time it is to do so, I haven’t in a long time.

      1. An extremely valid point is made when mentioning advertising. Advertising is so important with the fast food industry, especially when it is on television. Kids nowadays are viewing television much more than the average child years ago. It seems that there is a fast food advertisement on every other three commercials. These commercials also appear on kid’s television channels, making kids’ brainwashed into the fast food industry and having the constant crave for it. If different types of food was offered and advertised for fast food companies, kids’ would remember what is popular to eat, as well as it most likely being healthy as well. This could very well be the savior for our future generations. If that doesn’t work, fast food commercials should be banned.

      2. I think what it comes down to, is that people must be held accountable for their choices, which is something that Americans seem to be avoiding. Most Americans know that fast food is unhealthy. They also know that regular exercise is needed to maintain their health. They understand that eating fast food everyday while not exercising tends to lead to obesity, but try to place the blame on advertisers and restaurants.

        Ok, but what if fast food is actually addictive? Then seek help, find some equivalent of rehab, or talk to a nutritionist. While I don’t think that this is the case, if people don’t seek help, they won’t usually get it.

        But what about all the advertising, aren’t they brainwashing me? You still, and always will, have a choice. You know that fast food is unhealthy, most advertisements aren’t contradicting that. If you saw an advertisement that promoted cutting oneself, should you ignore common sense and cut yourself just because it was on TV?

    2. I like your comment Nick, child and obesity shouldn’t be in the same sentence. If children are struggling with weight issue due to genetics or sickness this is understandable but many kids are overweight due to laziness. This is a why women like Michelle Obama took on a campaign to encourage exercise. There are so many new ads on kids TV shows about “Verb, its what you do!” The irony of it all is that these commercials are on on mornings Kids are watching their favorite cartoons. I wish they would show a realistic portrayal of a child who refuses to play outside and what laziness and too much TV can do to someone. A “realistic scared straight” tactic except with no convicts. Let’s face it these ads will never appear because they would make the consumer think too much TV is bad but in reality this is true. TV is all about advertising and commercials showing what laziness does to a person doesn’t bring the network money. The sad reality is costs go up when people are unhealthy. Insurance and hospital costs go up in an unhealthy society. That aside we need to be encouraging to people who are struggling. Show some “tough” love but in a way that builds up and that doesn’t tear down. Lets not dance around issues but cut to the heart of the issue. We can be sensitive to people without catering to them. We as a society can tell people to be more healthy without being degrading. James McDonald says “Love without truth is hypocrisy and truth without love is brutality.” Let us be truthful America has a food problem. Let’s be helpful without being hurtful. America!!!!!!

      1. Vladimir, I totally agree with what you said. For anything to be done concerning children and their health, they as well as their parents need to be scared straight. The “Verb” commercials are productive, but only to an extent. If there were commercials that showed a child sitting on the couch, getting fatter and fatter as the months go by then maybe that would attract some attention. On the TV show Maury, he does specials on parents that cater to their child’s hunger needs feeding them pizza, pasta, and fried food just to make them happy. Many of the kids’ on the show are under the age of ten and are more than double or triple over weight for their age. This is a rude awakening for people, but we need more of this in advertising so people can see that this generation is really in need of help. Portraying our children today as they actually are needs to be a rude awakening for parents and kids so we can prevent unhealthy habits.

  7. Sacrificing health and well-being for money – what a novel idea. Too bad it isn’t novel at all. McDonald’s can say anything it wants, it can add fruit grown on sight hydroponically and still that will not undo the damage that has been done. They can clean up the (cheap) crap they pass for food, but the real damage is less the “food” and more the “fast”. Seriously, do I REALLY want to eat a burger I just paid ONE dollar for????????? No, I don’t (eat burgers at all) and I won’t. I respect my body more than that and I respect the ritual of a meal more than that. Am I saying that I never “grab” something to eat? Nope, but I won’t eat and drive, eat and walk or eat and stand for that matter.

    Me in my ivory tower – isn’t it lovely?!?! More like tarnished silver!

    Am I placing the blame solely on the shoulders of McDonald’s? Absolutely not. We have choices. The success of McDonald’s suggests that perhaps we have made quite a few bad choices – and owning those bad/less-than-perfect/not-so-great choices is important. Bonniejean, you are doing just that. In a life that is surely as hectic as everyone else’s, you are making thoughtful choices to take back your health.

    In life the condition of our body in this moment is truly all we have.

    (I seem to be attracted to a particular theme in my comments and responses this week!)

    Life is precious. We live our entire lives in these marvels that walk, and dance and embrace and weep. We are tissue in many forms, we are spirit, we are emotion, we are thought – all equally important for optimal function. McDonald’s? Really?!?!

    1. Now that I think about it, why would someone want to eat a burger they pay $1 for? Considering how money crazed our society is, they want to save every penny, even at the negative cost of their body. People do not give fast food production any thought in depth, and if they did they would decrease their consumption, change what they order, or not order any food at all. How much time and money goes into making fast food what it is once the customer receives it? In my opinion, I would like to think that it it is made just like any other burger, but I know I would be lying to myself. What can America do to convince fast food industries to have a higher quality product without charging more money than they currently do?

      1. I agree with this also, its like how people don’t like thinking about something like hot dogs are made. Why..if it grosses you out to think about it, would you want to eat it? That makes no sense. Especially knowing how much damage it does to your body. You can’t possibly think that a burger that costs only a dollar is gonna be good quality. It might not even be beef for all we know. People put too much trust in society and I think that is part of their downfall. Today’s society is so deceiving that you can trust what companies, especially food ones, say in their ads and such.

    2. Oh Catherine, I really do love your words. You are right; you end up paying a dollar for chemically engineered meat. SICK! Honestly, not only is that disgusting for your body, but for that poor animal. Their body was altered, genetically modified, injected with junk, and you can bet that dollar you were going to use to buy that “hamburger” those animals are incredibly mistreated. Grown and created these animals are to satisfy are nasty taste buds as well as saving us an extra dollar or so in our pockets. We do need to view our bodies as temples, and have more respect for the animals that feed us. Just Saying!

  8. I believe that a major overhaul of the recommended diet put out by the FDA is needed. Just recently, they qualified the tomato sauce on pizza as a value for daily vegetable. While it may be deem nutritious, it has been processed and had chemicals added to it to retain its shelf life. In my opinion, this is not equal to having a sliced tomato on a salad or even on pizza. When the government make guidelines most companies strive to barely meet the requirements, when they could be exceeding them by using fresher, more healthy ingredients. Some will argue the cost is too high, but can you really put a price tag on the future generations health?

    1. Henry, I think this is more a problem with the currently political system and the effectiveness of lobbyists with industrial backings than anything that could be solved by an overhaul of the FDA. Lobbyist groups, especially those with large industrial backings, seem to have way too much power on Capitol Hill, and many of our representatives and senators are focused on satisfying them rather than their constituency. When lobbyists can get congress to declare a falsity–one that likely harms the American people–as truth, there is clearly a problem.

    2. Henry, I believe that the problem is coming from all the chemical and processed food because we our society does not care whats in our food or if it is healthy they just what a burger for a dollar in less then three mins. I gets bad because it is a cycle because they will keep buying fast food or processed food because they can get more of it for less of a price. We need to make healthier food more available to the average citizen.

    3. I don’t think it is the government’s business at all to tell me what is or is not good or safe or even considered food. The feds already have enough power, and people are far too willing to give up freedom for perceived safety. Given that the FDA is taking bribes from purveyors of genetically altered food sources, who can trust their “standards” anyway?

  9. I would not just blame the parents for this wrongdoing. I think society has played a HUGE role in a child’s life on what is cool to eat and what is everybody eating. My sister is overweight and as terrible as this is we do not know why. My mother does not buy fast food for her, or even cookies for that matter. We had to get her tested to make sure it wasn’t her kidneys or some sort of thyroid problem. My mother at our young ages told me and my two other sisters to always eat HEALTHY HEALTHY and that was the way to go. Well my mother cannot control what my sister eats when she is not around. She cannot control what the school gives her additional to what my sister had already packed in her lunch box. My mother cannot control what the parents of my sister’s friends give her. At such a young age kids do not think of the long term effects on their decisions, my mother cannot beat my sister to eat right, she can only educate as much as possible. Ultimately it is up to the child to make the decision what goes into their mouths. If a parent could care less and just give into their child’s cravings then that is a completely different story and those parents should be charged for the death of their children, because at the end of the road they are killing them.

    1. This is true, children in my opinion are not ignorant towards decisions. In the end it is up to them what they eat because the parent does not live in their mouths blocking out junk food. This is just the reality when my family isn’t around I eat chocolate, no one is there to stop me. If I like it, I would continue to do so. It is unfortunate and society has and still does have a heavy hand in what the child wants. This is one of the saddest instances. This comes back to advertising, if places like McDonalds does not have permission to advertise with bright colors and jazz hands to the kids they might not want it.

    2. I think this is true because when a child is wanting something it is very hard to deny it. Food is another thing to because some kids are picky eaters and it is hard to find foods that they like so it makes sense that they eat fast food because it taste the same every time. I think that society as a whole needs to make the step to eating healthy and stop relying on fast food. Once we stop eating fast food we will begin growing fresh food locally and home meals will be more often.

  10. Wow, we have some scholars at the table now, kudos to you all and I would like to say without filling that void within, these kids are going to try and fill the lack of love with food from mommy and daddy. Instead of what sport should I play today, its going to be like what can I do to at least get my heart pumping just a little bit. The Child Obesity complex is parents letting their children eat almost whatever they want. You have all scene the day time talk shows, like the Maury show, where these little 4 and 5 years olds, weigh almost 200 pounds, thats more than me and I am 5 foot 8 at least… Anyway, the parents are lacking parental control and stability causing the children to have voids within them, which can only be filled at a very spiritual level. Oneself would consume anything to feel loved, to be whole and not hollow. When someone or something has an addiction it is because of some outwardly expressed inner dilemma, meaning that the substance takes over. So, can be expressed in the inner torment of hunger, not being able to weigh out your needs and wants. When a society is wrapped around convenience no matter what the cost, the cultural aspect of diversity is fragmented in the ways of Mills and the Sociological Imagination. One could look back saying, why were all of these beings so fat and lathargic, was there nothing to do, no hill to be climbed, no valley to be sought. Is our day a day of wreckening or a day of re-awakiening?

  11. I agree that these advertisements are out of control. These young kids can’t even watch their cartoons without getting a ton of food commercials thrown into their spongy little minds. I have 6 nieces and a new baby nephew and of course when the T.V. comes on they are totally taken in by it being consumed by all the ads. These advertisement engineers sure know what thy are doing by targeting the time of day kids watch their shows and really knowing who their audience is at specific times of the day. So. not only do the parents need to monitor what their kids eat, but they should also be monitoring what these kids watch on T.V. as well. The whole world is filled with fake, material junk, so these parents really have to step up their game and know with out a doubt what their child is up to. Food, exercise, church, down time, and homework should be closely examined, so that these children have a fighting chance to grow up without being over weight or obese. These building blocks could serve as the beginning for the child to get a good start in life, body, mind, and soul.

    1. This is a really good comment. We need full parental involvement in the fight against childhood obesity. As much as I want to blame McDonalds and Burger King it is up to the parents to teach their kids how, when, and how much to eat. Growing up, my parents taught me the importance of moderation. McDonald’s isn’t a “treat” when you eat it daily or even weekly. Food effects the mind, body, and soul Like Nicky said, and it is sooo important to have a good foundation in health as a youngster. I have noticed that all of my adult friends that ate family meals as kids tend to do so as adults. I will always wait for my husband to get home to eat because making it social moderates it and makes it more meaningful. Exercise is of great importance as well. Unplug the television and go outside. Get your kids involved in extracurricular programs and sports. As much as they want the “fun” stuff, they will feel so much happier and accomplished when they do the “right” stuff.

    2. This is so true, it is very sad when the well being of the children is overshadowed by companies wanting to make money. These advertisements need to be banned just as cigarettes are, or at least have some warning like they have on cigarette packs. This may not deter people from eating there but they should at least be warned that these foods are not healthy. The ads that you see on tv make fast food look so good for you, because they say they use all “fresh” and “natural” ingredients. Sadly that is not the case, and all this food is doing is poisoning the people who eat it.

  12. With educating these young impressionable children, to eat healthy and exercise, I think we can change the future. The kids seem to keep getting smarter each generation in some ways, but definitely with technology. All the kids now a days seem to know how to turn on the T.V., computer, video game system, now its time to teach them some important things about their body, like the how it is made up. The computer system and internet as powerful and amazing as it is, is still only a copy of us, of human beings. Our minds are so diverse and complex they way that information travels around from our brain to all our different organs. We are the gift, our bodies and minds need to be taken care of on an extraordinary level of complexity. We as a society the adults should not be profiting and making money off of others misery, especially a child’s. When that obese child grows up to be an obese adult, they will carry much misery around with them and that is not how our amazingly glorious lives should be lived out. Its truly sad what one person will do to another to make a buck…

    1. I agree with you, kids nowadays are always on their phones and computers all day. Video games and young kids is a problem because they can get hooked and they will play that instead of going out side and exercising. Kids need to learn to be outside more and do more physical activities which will help with the over weight problem. It would also help it the dangers of eating processed food and fast food was taught to the kids at a young age so they will not what to eat it.

  13. Well, it seems the other members have dropped out of the discussion by now. I guess I will finish with saying that, through education at the schools and at home we can lead our kids to have a healthier nation. Kids love to play, they love to be outside, the adults have to be the ones to monitor their time, so that these kids get enough of the real life time they need. There are so many distractions today for the young ones, they need daily breaks from their altered reality, just so that they can feel and act normal. I hope the parents can get a good handle within each house hold and the schools can administer good policies to make learning about food and eating fun for the kids. Essentially we all have to eat to thrive and survive, we mind as well make it a fun and healthy experience. I cooked professionally for awhile in my life, so I know first hand that there are a lot of fun and interesting foods to put into your diet, whether you are a child or an adult.

  14. I agree that parents should teach their children to try everything at least three times. It’s funny to think that many times kids just say that they don’t like certain things only because well… just because. When I was younger I had a very weird appetite; I would eat ramen noodles; spaghettios ALL the time. even thoughIi was as skinny as a toothpick, I’m sure it did a number to my metabolism and health! Now, because of that weird diet, I find it difficult to know when to say no to delicious food! I also find myself trying more foods and jumping outside of my own comfort zone when it comes to food because you truly do not know if you will like something unless you try it! I always thought I “hated” black olives and it turns out that I LOVE them!
    Parents have the power to change the outlook of obesity in this world. All they have to do is instill the nutritional value of every food and not force it down their child’s throats.

    1. I think that you are absolutely right in saying that kids needs an overhaul on how they are taught to eat and maintain a nutritious diet. kids in todays society have little to no structure in there diet, they eat what ever they want with ought a care in the world as to if that particular product is health or not. If parents could just instill a structured healthy diet into the lives of there children from a young age I believe that the next generation would live a long life and a better quality of life. Many parents have failed in educating their children this way, which is why i feel that the next generation has a good chance of repeating the patterns of obesity that we see in our own society. That is why we need to change the way we think about food and nutrition as a socity

  15. This issue is a very concerning one in way that it is such an overwhelming concept. It is hard enough to loose weight as it is, but trying to make every obese person in America loose weight is literally impossible. The foods we eat in this country when you really put it in perspective are disgusting. The odd part is until you begin a regiment of healthy diet and workout, you don’t even realize how bad it is. I agree completely that kids not being “picky” about food is a direct correlation to the foods their parents prepare. My parents always made home cooked meals, in turn all my brothers and I are healthy and we love all types of food. If parents constantly bring home fast food then children will go back to this food for comfort, this is not such a good idea.

  16. I believe that the reason for our obesity crisis is mainly due to the parents. Children wouldn’t learn to “crave” fast-food if they didn’t know about it. I know parents that say they go through the drive-thru at McDonald’s 2-3 times a day! If their kid wants some fries after school they go there. Or some pancakes before school. It’s absolutely ridiculous. The amount of preservatives that are instilled into the food at McDonald’s is disgusting and unhealthy. If it’s not for one’s weight to stop eating at all these fast food restaurants, they should do it for their well-being, their health. I can tell a complete difference in myself when I eat fast food; I immediately feel sick, bloated, and tired. It is definitely not a feeling worth the good, temporary taste!

    1. I totally agree that parents have become too complacent with their kids and their fast food habit! I have also felt the effects of fast food consumption, I have had quite a bit of fast food through the years becauseIi am a college student on a tight budget. I do feel bad after I eat it but I do my best to avoid it because I was brought up to be healthy. when I do ever eat it I am in the gym the very next day! The problem has become incredibly large and wide spread in our nation and I feel like the only way out is to educate the new generation. Parents in today’s society have to be conscious of the lasting effects they have not only their kids but their kids’ generation after they’re gone. Even though we have propagated obesity in our society we can still change and set a precedent for the next generation to follow and hopefully they will be a healthy obesity free society.

    2. I am glad that you are so strong and have such great will power. I also feel like crap after trying to eat fast food. This is why I spend 4 hours in the kitchen on the weekend so my family will have meals for the whole week. It does come from what kids see their parents do going. If the parents go thru the drive thru 3 times a day the kids think that’s normal. I love that my children are accustom to trying different fruits and veggies. This will make them healthier adults. Then again we have to look back at those who do eat a lot of fast food and say to ourselves what was their upbringing? Did they have someone to teach them how to cook? I’ve found this many times. I then pride myself in trying to help introduce new things and ways to cook to them slowly. I have found many friends over the years this way. It gives me knowledge and understanding and them a better healthier life.

      1. I do agree that if children see their parents going through a drive thru it would be considered a norm. When I was growing up my mom did cook almost everyday but she did not have vegetables engraved in our diet. This was unfortunate but now I am trying to be more healthy and resonable with my consumption. My upbringing in my opinion has nothing to do with how much fast food I eat. Simply because of financial struggles. My family is against fast food but time to time, more frequently at times we are forced to grab a burger and fries for convenience and price. It is possible some are raised with NO knowledge of vegetables benefits and eat large amounts of fast food from being raised. Its just not all cases are the same.

  17. This was a really good article and I agree with all of it. I too have not stepped foot in a McDonald’s in a very long time because I just couldn’t eat that greasy, unhealthy type of fast food anymore. Part of the problem is that McDonald’s have become so popular and common that they are so easily accessible around towns. In my town there are 3 McDonald’s within a couple miles of my house. People have definitely become too lazy to cook meals at home because there often in a rush to go to work or whatnot that McDonald’s has become a very easy option since there so close to people’s houses. The main reason why i think obesity has affected children so much is they are so accustomed to eating junkfood and fastfood that they wont give fruits and other diets a chance. When I was younger my friends mom’s would always give us candy, soda’s, Doritos, and other junkfood that we got so used to it thats all we would eat. As i got older my mom starting making healthier foods to steer me away from junkfood which helped me a lot. Unfortunately a lot of parents today aren’t like that and let their kids eat whatever they want because they dont have time or just dont want to put in the effort to help their child which is sad.

  18. I enjoyed reading this article because i can totally relate to this. My parents let me eat whatever I want when I was a kid and now i have the worst eating habits in the world. I eat Mcdonalds over three times a week if not more and I just can’t get myself to stop. My parents don’t cook at home so in a society that I live in where I could go to a fast food restaurant and get an entire meal with fries and a drink it is much easier for me to go to Mcdonald’s then to even attempt to make a meal at home. Society makes it easier to get food fast and that is why I feel child obesity is raising. Parents are too lazy to get up and cook so Mcdonald’s is just the easy way out. Parents do not realize what the outcome of it when they are older like high blood pressure and the empty calories they obtain.

  19. I do agree that something needs to change when it comes to fast food consuming us. And one of the biggest problems is the healthy options these restaurants now offer. It has tricked the consumer into believing that it is okay for them to eat at that establishment because they think they are eating healthy. But just like it was stated it is usually genetically modified or contains more calories, sodium, fats, and other components than expected. One good thing I can see from this though is introducing children to fruit. The fruit they might get with their happy meal may not be of the highest quality but they are now comfortable with the idea of eating fruit, so if the parents provide them with fruit at home, it may now be a new part of their diet. A lot of this lies with the parents, we need to educate them before they corrupt their children with unhealthy eating and it is too late.

  20. McDonald’s, like all other fast places, are trying to get you in and out. They aren’t concerned how many pounds kids are piling on. Kids aren’t as active this days either. Sports and running are not a top choice for kids now days. They don’t have responsibilities of manual labor at home. Example helping their parents take care of a family farm or such. Going to McDonald’s several times in a day in the norm now for some families. This is not the healthiest choice at all. We tend to get caught up in the fast track of things. STOP and look at the calories. Then think what part of the chicken are those nuggets made from. We must try to have family dinners more like the old days where in was a regular thing every night. Having dinner together as a family gives us family talk time and keeps us eating healthy.

    1. I agree with this, fast food is not the only reason behind these kids health issues. The focus on exercise and sports has diminished a lot, even since I was a child. There needs to more money focused on PE in schools again. When I was middle school we had PE every other day and ran the mile once a week, now PE is filled with games that do not exert much effort. In order for this problem to be fixed, people must look at what their child is eating and also what form of exercise they are getting. Kids need to eat real meals again and spend more time outside, rather than inside playing video games and watching TV.

  21. Globalization makes the U.S a fast food nation. Everybody is in a hurry. I don’t find McDonald a main contributor to the problem of childhood obesity. I find that parents and lack of their education in a field of health and nutrition is a main contributor as well as TV watching while eating. Just as you said in the article, the education in that field is needed. I believe that every type of food is good as long as is served in moderation. I like fast food. It serves the purpose of quick meal for me but it doesn’t stop me from having healthy breakfast, homemade dinner and above all doesn’t stop me from daily exercise.

  22. I fully agree and support what this article says. I do feel that the whole point in Mcdonalds adding their little sliced apple pack to their happy meal is to make the people out there believe that it is a healthier alternative then their french fries. It satisfies the people who dont realize that what they’re eating is sort-of an apple. I feel Mcdonalds just wanted to put out the idea to people that “we’re coming around, so you can still eat here.” When in all reality, people need to start doing their research and realize that fast food is all bad and it needs to be a nationwide change. If our society doesn’t get educated on this topic then obesity will be something that our next generation will most likely follow in.

  23. While some of the fault may lie in the parenting you cannot put the blame completely on their heads. McDonalds has incredibly large profit margins and they can budget enormous sums of money for advertising. They along with other major food corporations sponsor athletes, have radio jingles, and place a new shop on every other corner not to mention indoor playgrounds perfect for winter. Besides that, kids see other kids eating it at school. Exposure to unhealthy food due to companies cutting costs and standardizing everything through chemicals is commonplace and not a new thing by any means. If you choose to eat sugar and pesticide sprayed apples instead that is up to you, though it should be illegal to put half of those things in the food anyway.

  24. As with many things in society, McDonald’s is the product of technological advancements. During the 1970’s when I can remember being an avid fan of McDonalds’ It was a welcomed pace from mom’s cooking. I do believe that giving mom a break from the kitchen was one of many reasons why McDonald’s was created. It provided fast food service for the working family. When there were not so many machines, microchips, IPads, IPhones. Buttons that controlled many things. McDonald’s is a legend and in keeping up with the ever increasing technological advances of society have lost sight of the nutritious ingredients in their food. The obesity comes in ,when you have more technology and less body activity. The more we can program, pick up the phone and place orders that can be delivered, the less physical activity we have. We cannot blame the product of our creations, we have take responsibility for presenting so much betterness (technology).

  25. The title of this blog summarizes exactly how I feel about this situation as well. America’s obesity rate is increasing at a large rate. Fast food places are adding fruit any other “healthy meals”, but are they really healthy. Say you get a salad, healthy right? Not exactly, depending on how much dressing you put on that salad could make it have more calories then an actual hamburger. If America wants to be healthier then they need to take a stand as a whole to stop the fast food epidemic. The disease that people need to be is pure and utter laziness. This is the reason why people go to fast food restaurants because they do not feel like cooking. Although organizations are trying to get kids to exercises like the NFL’s play 60. They do have a good idea at targeting the youth, but they really should be targeting adults about making sure their kids are exercising.

  26. Mrs. B, I love this article a lot. I can relate to this very easily. I work at McDonald’s currently, and I have been for the past two years. Let me first start off by agreeing with you about how bad the food is for you. After working around food constantly during my shift, it’s no surprise that I start to slowly crave this awful food. So on my break, I’m allowed a free employee meal for me to eat. I really try to eat healthy and get a salad with extra grilled chicken, but even that isn’t healthy. I was very confused when the little packs of apples came out and started appearing in the happy meals we give to customers. Just because we put basically three apple slices in the meal makes the rest of it okay to eat as well? A hamburger and kid fry is still in the box also. I just didn’t understand the marketing technique McDonalds’ is using to promote that. But I guess this global superpower has reasons for every little thing they do. I found myself feeling blissful to know that there are others out there who can see right through McDonalds and what it’s doing to humans on our planet. Every day that I work, I see children being lured in, dragging their parents behind them with the promise of Power Ranger toys and other gimmicks. But behind the smiling face of Ronald McDonald lies the reality, this company’s sole interest is money, making profits from whoever and whatever they can, just like all multinational companies. At least you understand.

  27. My mom and I actually just had this conversation last week. I went food shopping for my family and she told me to make sure I picked up the usual things, and to pick up something t to make for dinner that night. So I wandered the aisles at the Jewel and came across a rotisserie chicken that I decided upon. When I got home I was telling my mom all the things I got, and she asked me what I got to make for dinner. I replied back, “oh, I got a chicken, it is out in the back yard.” She laughed and knew I was just being sarcastic. But she then replied, “you know, when I grew up (in Ireland) we had our own chickens, pigs, cows, vegetables, etc. We would never have to go to the store and spend all this money on processed foods like we do today.” Which is very true. The organic products are much, much, much more expensive making it more difficult for people to afford to live a healthier lifestyle. Their needs to be more affordable choices of healthier food options, so people do not feel the necessity to pick up fast food daily because it is cheaper than fruits and vegetables.

  28. I agree with this article that McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants contribute dramatically to the high percentage of obese children. In partial to that, parents are also a large contributor. Parents do have a say so in what their child eats. If the parent is constantly making or purchasing unhealthy meals, they are enforcing an unhealthy diet upon their children. Unfortunately, in our society, it is much more convenient and affordable to maintain an unhealthy diet because unhealthy food products are more available to low income families. The healthier food options are made available to people, but they do cost more. Not by a couple pennies, but by a few dollars. I remember going with my mother to the grocery store over the summer. We were buying strawberries.The organic strawberries were almost two dollars more than the inorganic strawberries. I truly believe that if the United States got rid of unhealthy foods and only provided organic foods at a lower price, the obesity rate in the U.S. would definitely decrease.

    1. That is definitely the key to helping decrease obesity. But unfortunately, what are the odds of McDonalds saying “We quit” and go into closure. I think we should start with the healthy foods becoming cheaper then it would be no excuse for individuals to say, they are too expensive. We should also implement healthy foods into school lunches which will help the students develop into wanting more healthy choices. If we can start with these changes it could be possible for a little change to occur. Although America is unpredictable in that aspect because people can just ignore the cheap healthy options and still go for cheap McDonalds.

  29. I agree with Mrs. Bonniejean Hinde that in fact fast food it terrible for body, and one piece of fruit isn’t going to cure obesity and it is probably a marketing ploy by their P.R. Department. To cure the rampant obesity it will take more effort and a long time, just like trying to lose weight is difficult and it taking a long time for me to do. Children need to be educated on the facts of fast food. This also shouldn’t be a task for the government; the parents of the children should take the initiative and teach their kids them about the consequences of obesity from a young age, and how it can lead to further health complications. I 100% agree that we need a “everlasting food revolution” to fix this growing problem.

  30. I completely agree with this article. America as a whole needs to change how they eat. With such a busy schedule, I find myself occasionally eating at fast food restaurants. Although I do tend to try eat the “healthier” options (if that is even possible), but find it as a quick way to have a meal when there is just a short time to spare. I prefer to eat a meal that I prepared myself or home cooked but being a busy adult with work and school it just always isn’t that easy.I am by now means even close to over weight but I was taught at a young age by my parents the healthier ways of eating. If given the choice I would much rather eat vegetables over greasy fries! Children today need to be taught at an early age the proper foods to eat and the negative effects of fast food. If educated properly they too can gain the knowledge of the right way of eating to live a healthier life free of obesity.

    1. I like what you said, lkuzniar. My lifestyle is about the same as what you said in your paragraph. It’s pretty hard to find ‘healthier’ options and I have come to that conclusion that the salads at either Wendy’s or McDonald’s are decently healthy for you. After scanning the food facts that Wendy’s offers upon request, the salads they have on their menus are not too bad for you! I wish I knew how to cook so at home I could make meals from scratch. It’s much healthier and also very fun to prepare foods by yourself on occasion. Don’t you think that if there was some form of educational classes in grades 7, 8, or 9 there would be a lessened rate of childhood obesity? To teach kids from a knowledgeable age such as 15 or 16 they can see how real obesity is and maybe kids would want to change their lives for the better.

      1. This is really interesting and depressing at the same time. There are so many healthier options out there. Although these option are by no means comparable to a healthy home cooked meal, they are still 10x better than eating at a McDonalds. There is always Subway, which is a healthier alternative to a cheeseburger and fries. And there is always Whole Foods. They have pre-made salads and a salad bar where you can make your own. At Mcdonalds you can spend up to $7 on a meal. You could go to Whole Foods and make a salad and grab a bottle of water for $6. It’s all about what you are willing to do for your health or your child’s health. I understand that people are busy, I have a job and go to school, so I get it. It will take you 10 minutes to walk into a grocery store and buy a salad, also it takes 2 minutes to make a sandwich at home. People have forgotten how easy it actually is to be healthy. These companies should not be to blame for doing there jobs, we as people, should be responsible for what we eat and what we feed our children and stop using these fast food companies as scapegoats.

  31. This subject always makes me mad. I’m not saying that I am the healthiest person on the planet, or even that I don’t have fast food from time to time, but the number of obese children and adults in America is astounding. I used to work at Starbucks, and every time an overweight child would come in with their parents they would order a Venti Frap, and the parents never said a thing. Not only do these beverages have a ridiculous amount of calories but the amount of sugar in them is unbelievable as well. I believe as a society we need to stop focusing on what is “convenient” and more on what is healthy for the children. People go to these fast food restaurants like McDonalds because they are easy and time efficient, but these people do not realize the actual toll the food they are consuming is taking on their bodies.

    1. They don’t realize what they are putting in their bodies, because nobody educated kids on how unhealthy it truly is. But whose duty is it to educate these kids on proper nutrition; their parents, the companies or the government? It boils down to a lack of education on the consumers part.

  32. My parents did not instill the knowledge that vegetables were good for me. I do wish they gave me more opportunities to eat healthy foods but now I have to take it upon myself to eat vegetables. I do agree that McDonalds attempts to “end” obesity are a failure and that it is too late to change their persona now. For over 50 years they have been feeding us bad food for cheap. This ideology of $1 burgers have attracted too many people and they are not willing to boycott this giant. Even in my own family, we don’t have a choice to not eat at McDonalds unfortunately. If healthier foods were cheaper it would be a better chance for me to eat it. I honestly hate when individuals judge me for eating at McDonalds. Are you going to buy me salads and veggie burgers? I think that if we just change the pricing for certain foods and take away some of the distractions (processed foods) then we can be on the road to a healthier country.

  33. I think the the solution to this problem starts with the schools. I can remember all throughout middle school and high school everybody would have a bag of Cheetos and a brownie with their lunch which already wasn’t too healthy. This shouldn’t exist in our society. Lunches provided by the school should be healthy. Furthermore, there is a growing pride in being fat in America today because it is the opposite of starving yourself to be like the models. Being fat is nothing to be proud of, it should be frowned upon, especially because it is the result of bad decisions and laziness.

  34. This topic really breaks my heart. Its so hard to realize what our society and future is coming to. There was an article that projected that more than half of americans will be obese in the coming years. This is so sad because we say the world is gonna end but, our lives our gonna be over by the time any of that happens. We need to teach our kids the importance of daily exercise and healthy lifestyles. We need to restrict gaming and staying in doors and encourage playing sports. Kids need motivation. I will not lie, we are a spoiled generation, kids only know how to receive. Kids dont like to work and that’s a simple truth. Even when kids are asked to do chores, they whine and nag. We should be doing everything we can for our parents because we are thankful!

  35. Reading this article I completely agree with you BonnieJean because I do love food but whenever I eat fatty foods I feel gross after it. I used to eat whatever I want, whenever I want everyday. However, I began to gain tremendous weight and my self-esteem was low because of my body. I then wanted to make a change because I know I would feel more confident. I go to the gym almost everyday and eat a healthy balanced diet. I try not to indulge in greasy food but sometimes you get tired of eating healthy. Whenever I see someone eat fries or pizza I get jealous but then I remember when I give in for one day I feel guilty. Fat lasts longer than flavor. I don’t think it’s the kids fault however I feel like its the parents to blame. McDonald’s is easy and cheap to get. It doesn’t require you to get out of your car like Subway or Panera Bread. McDonald’s also gives kids toys which makes their food more appealing. No matter how much we talk about this issue, I feel like McDonald’s will always be one of the biggest cooperation. Heck they’re one of the companies that pay their taxes every day. It’s expensive to pay for healthy food; however it’s more expensive to pay for your healthcare bill. Food not only affects your body physically but emotionally as well. When you do eat unhealthy food, you can start to feel depressed and lazy.

  36. I have also lived my life the past 4 or 5 years without fast food. But recently I cheat every now and then and get a burger, just because I can and the doctors think Im underweight. Plus I make sure I work that burger off the next couple a days before I eat anything else unhealthy for me. McDonalds, I agree, is giving too little, too late. A piece of fruit that is not even Real fruit, for less fries will not do the trick to close the epidemic of child obesity. What will is the parents. Sure, its okay to have a happy meal, as long as it’s not every day. I believe you are what you eat, and it’s okay to have anything as long as you have it in moderation and proper proportion to yourself.

  37. I believe a major problem with Americas addiction to fast food is due its incredible cheap prices. Why would a family, especially a family in poverty, go buy their own ingredients that can cost between $10-$15 when they can simply purchase a full meal for under $5. This is the mind set of those trying to save money. I believe that if we encouraged the benefits of home cooked meals and lowered the prices of fresh produce, then people would lose interest in eating at fast food restaurants. Home cooked meals would become much more enjoyable. Not only will it be enjoyable, but it’d be a great learning experience and a great way to spend time with family.

    1. I disagree, savvy shopping can substitute the need for fast food. Coupons are a great way to save money on fresh produce, I do it all the time. I compare the prices to menu prices regularly because I am a smart consumer. Anybody with a legal residence receives coupons in the mail. Taking a little time out of your Sunday and clipping coupons isn’t a hard task. I cutoff fifty to sixty dollars every time I go grocery shopping and my diet is mainly fish and chicken.

  38. I completely agree with this article. As long as fast food remains cheap and fast busy people will continue buying it. However, I believe it is partially parents fault for why there is childhood obesity. The fact that they give in to their kids who don’t want to eat their vegetables, or only eat hot dogs everyday makes their chances of being obese higher.It’s all about moderation when it comes to this fast food craze. If you’re buying it everyday then it becomes a huge problem, but if it’s only every now and then it’s not as big of a deal. There are always ways to get kids to eat healthier, all the cooking shows now are telling us to cook together. Getting your kids involved makes the experience so much more enjoyable and could help get your kids to eat healthier.

    1. Lindsay I do not believe that the parents should be partially held accountable, I believe they should be fully held accountable.Yes, fast food is cheap, but is it really that cheap? Maybe if you are purchasing only for yourself, however if you are buying it to sustain a family with multiple kids there is no way. I can barely go to Wendy’s or McDonald’s for two people and spend less than 18 dollars. Multiply that by 3 times a day and then 7 days a week that is insane money. If I go to the store I can buy an entire ham for 12 dollars and we can eat it for a week. I do not agree that cooking programs for the answer either. Parents need to lay the hammer down and say if you do not eat this meal I am providing then don’t eat at all. I never had the option to tell my parents no I am not eating the green beans I ate the green beans because if I did not there was no alternative food provided to replace it.

  39. I completely agree with this. It is so sad to see what America’s food industry has turned into. I love that you pointed how the genetically enhanced fruit in the happy meal part. It’s all just a marketing scam. Why can’t we just supply fresh food without preservatives in them? Because these large corporations and most of America is just selfish and only care about finding ways to save and make more money even if its putting their fellow citizens health at risk. Another example similar to the apples at mcdonalds would be the marketing scam of “diet” coke. Its just a scam to make people think that you’re making “healthier” decisions when actually its worse for you because it contains aspartame which can cause many diseases. I truly hope that soon we can all be informed and motivated enough to bring an end to this chain of “diets” that are actually killing us.

    1. Though i agree that there should be more GMO labeling on certain foods, i do not agree that large corporations are to blame. We all hold the capacity to recognize and avoid foods that we do not want to ingest. They put preservatives in the food to do exactly what you expect, preserve the food. Unfortunately, avoiding preservatives while supplying millions of people around the world just isn’t realistic. If people want to avoid the negative aspects of their food, people need to avoid the large chain companies. The only people that are to blame for these trends are the customers. Until people stop buying their food, or the government steps in, nothing will change.

  40. I completely agree with your assessment. First and foremost, this starts at the household. When I was a child my parents cooked dinner everyday, I didn’t have the option to say no. There was no alternative solution. Today, parents have absolutely no control over their children. We are a society that actually put’s leashes on their children. Blaming the fast food industry is wrong. They are just raking in the profits of bad parenting. Parents also need to get their children away from the video games and into the playground. As long as you exercise regularly, you can eat fast food in moderation.

  41. I completely agree that there is a major problem in the United states in regards to the growing obesity rates. We have become a lazy country, both in activity, and in regards to ability to take action. Like many of the other social issues facing our country, there seems to be a large amount of people who are willing to voice an opinion, or pick a side, but very few of us who actually take action. McDonalds, and the rest of the fast food industry are not to blame! What happened to accountability in this country? It is the role of the parent to ensure the health of their child. If you’re not satisfied with school lunches, pack your child a lunch. Get your child off the couch, and into a sports league. Growing up, my parents (who both worked full time) still took the extra time to cook a healthy meal every night. If we ate fast food as a family, it was once a week at the most. The benefits of a healthy diet were explained, and incorporated into meals throughout my childhood. I was taught to take responsibility for my own actions. If i wasn’t satisfied with my physical appearance, i went for a run, cut down on the junk food, or went to the gym. Many parents these days don’t seem to realize that their own bad habits have a strong chance of rubbing off on their children. As a parent, blaming the fast food industry for your child’s obesity is pure ignorance. The cure to childhood obesity lies in the hands of the parents, not the people supplying the food. The fast food industry is just another example of business filling a void in the market!

    1. Accountability is truly lost in America TIm. Point the finger at McDonald’s, point the finger at Burger King. In actuality you should be pointing the finger at yourself for being a terrible parent. If I became a crack addict should I blame the crack dealer for my addiction? If I receive a DUI should I blame the police officer for pulling me over? No, because at the end of the day I made a bad decision.You can make the same bad decision when it comes to dieting. All it takes is a little bit of discipline and the ability to use a stove. My parent’s worked full time and yet they still found time to prepare dinner for 3 children. Amazingly enough, they even found the time to take me outside and let me exercise. Quality parenting is the key to battling obesity.

      1. I think that there seems to be a lot more people in the younger generations that want to point fingers instead of taking self responsibility. It might be a byproduct of changes in how children are raised, but i think our culture promotes self entitlement much more compared to previous generations. These factors, combined with increased sensitivity have created a perfect storm for finger pointing instead of action. It is not always the easiest thing to blame yourself for a problem you have created, and the trend to remain sensitive makes it easier for people to fall into bad habits without peer persecution. We have created a revolution against bullying, and give everyone trophies despite losing efforts. This mindset can be applied to the growing obesity rates. We blame food companies for making us fat, and use more gentle words to describe people who are overweight. We have become a mocked society around the world! I think these rates will continue to get worse and worse until being obese is the norm, or the problem becomes so out of control that regulations are put in place to give us incentive for the public to lose the weight.

      2. I think government regulation may be the only answer for this issue. Generations will not change they will only proceed to become worse. It is sadly true that this finger pointing mentality exists in America. What happens when these kids grow up, pursue a career? What happens when playing the victim no longer becomes ground for compensation. When they have a boss who drives his staff with an iron fist to get results from his/her subordinates? Will these kids collapse? If so will they possess the mental capabilities to face adversity?

  42. We seem to be a society that only responds to positive reinforcement. Hard work and effort, while overcoming adversity has made this country great. Previous generations worked hard to ensure the livelihood of their children and set up future generations for an easier life. It seems that younger generations have taken advantage of what they have been given, and become lazy in the process. This easy upbringing has decreased our ability to handle conflict. It is the responsibility of the parent to ensure a healthy environment, and create a good infrastructure to ensure success for their children later in life. Many people seem to struggle once they are introduced to adult life. This struggle applies to these growing obesity rates. If someone does not understand what it takes to remain healthy, and doesn’t comprehend the risks of dangerous eating habits, their children will more often follow suit.

  43. I agree that anything McDonald’s tries to do in order to help obesity will either be a pathetic attempt to make it right, or like the fruit, have people believe they are being healthy when in fact it is probably hurting them more. As a nation we know very little about nutrition. food pyramid for instance has changed greatly over the last few decades due to more research and new discoveries. However, is it really what we should be eating? There is talk among nutritionists that anything with dairy in it is actually bad for you. Which contradicts everything they taught us in school about always drinking milk. My point is that our nation as a whole needs a lesson in nutrition. For the sake of our future and our children, we need to educate them about how to eat healthy. Not by forcing it on them, but by letting them make their own choices and learn what will make them live longer more fulfilling lives with less health problems.

  44. I think that a lot has to do with the parents. They are choosing the faster and easiest way and not saying no to their children. Advertising plays a huge role in what people eat, and if fast food places like McDonalds are putting themselves out there with deals and a “healthier” menu then more people are going to go there. I do think that starting healthy eating habits young needs to happen. If you grow up eating healthier then you are most likely going to be a healthy eating adult. Americans are becoming more and more lazy and just eating on the go instead of preparing meals a few days or week in advance.

  45. @skorpz Previous generations mainly the World War 2 generation promoted family structure. They worked hard not for their own benefit, but for the benefits of their family. They were successful in doing so, and the generations afterward indulged. They did not have to work as hard, they were able to pick and choose the career paths they desired. This has led to a mentality in America that says ” We want it now, and we want it convenient’. The fast food business has thrived off of this mentality. They provide a food service that is fast, efficient, and easy. I honestly believe people understand the health risks, they are extremely educated in the realm of dieting, probably more than any other country. The problem is Americans do not care if it is unhealthy we care that we get it now and we get it cheap. McDonald’s and companies alike are not to blame, it is the individual who is to blame.

  46. @pkappz

    I completely agree that this boils down to personal responsibility. The convenience, low cost, and speed-over-anything mindset just amplifies the rate this epidemic has grown. I also agree that most Americans understand the risks of unhealthy eating and fast food diets. I have spent multiple years living overseas where corporations like McDonalds exist in comparable numbers. However these obesity trends don’t exist. People there aren’t always focused on healthy eating either, but they do have societies that promote physical activity. People walk to the local stores, they ride bikes to work, walk to public markets/festivals, just to name a few. In Europe it is almost a challenge to find someone that is noticeably overweight. Our laziness has amplified the negative health benefits fast food creates. We want instant results, convenience, and low costs. We drive rather than walk, and we spend far more time indoors watching TV rather than enjoying the outside world. We over-indulge because our society promotes it. Because of these factors we have become reliant on easy solutions and our obesity rates reflect this.

  47. @skorpz We have have absolutely become the laughing stock of Western Europe in terms of health. Many Europeans believe that all Americans are fat. They also associate are weight issues with laziness. Most German people I spoke to honestly believe that every American wakes up and proceeds to watch television for an entire day. So this obesity issue is not just a problem we face here in America but it has also shaped our image world wide. There needs to be greater emphasis in regards to motivating children to start going outside. I think today’s professional parents play a large role. Safety, safety, safety to much emphasis on it. We have a generation of parents who are to scared to let their children go outside. They would rather let them play with electronic inside their household in order to keep that protective eye over them. I am in no way saying that there are not sick people in this world, but hasn’t there always been? Teach your children not to talk to strangers, instill a little bit of independence into their lives. Get over this fear.

  48. @pkappz

    i think that the overprotective nature of American parenting does play a role in the lack of physical activity in our youth. While video games existed during my childhood, they were always the option when the weather was too bad to play a pickup baseball game with my friends. We put so much emphasis on television, video games, and it has replaced many of the outdoor and/or physical activities that we could be doing to help curb a poor diet. These habits have evolved into lazy habits as adults. Id be interested to know how many hours a day the average American spends watching TV, surfing the internet, or playing video games. The advancements in technology have made this world smaller and we are always connected. No longer does a kid have to ride his bike or walk to a friends house to interact with him/her. They can just hop online, or grab a controller and interact in the virtual world. The ability to hide behind an avatar or screen name means that physical appearance isn’t the first way someone is judged, and isn’t necessarily the first impression, like it once was.

  49. I agree with everything you stated our parents and schooling to get children more involved in activity. I remember as a kid that we would do a annual bike ride every other day with my dad and sisters. Then work got in the way and the days got cut down little by little. People don’t realize that activity is key factor in child obesity and poor diet skills. Parents feel there is no time to cook diner and they get takeout food for last minute meals. Judgment on overweight children is not based on there parents by the kids lack of activity. Other kids make jokes and think its funny to make fun of the overweight kids. Parents and schools need to understand that obesity is on the rise and they need to help make there children and students in a better and more healthier life style. Even if that means dramatic changes its all for a great cause.

  50. Fast food is the number one reason for obesity. I completely agree with that. I have been a victim of being more overly obese at a young age because I did not know what I was putting into my body nor did I have parents yelling or punishing me for what I was doing to my body. The problem I feel is in this country is that people just get lazy to go to a store and get fresh ingredients and prepare them home made. Old school cooking is diminishing by the decade. House wives were responsible for making fresh home made meals but now time is changing females are becoming more independent and the old fashion wife is diminishing in this country. I dont wan to blame Females for being the problem because they are not. I believe every school in the country should provide more health courses and teach the younger kids the dangers of fast-foods.

  51. Fast food is America’s favorite kind of food because it’s on the go, like most of our lifestyles and its very tasty. Over the years fast food has become more temping since they introduced dollar menus in most of all of them. With the economy going down everyday it has become practical to stop for a 99 cent double cheese burger instead of going to the grocery store to hind you cant afford the produce. what most Americans fail to realize is grocery shopping is actually cheaper than eating out everyday. yes it takes a little more work because you have to take time out of your day to plan meals, shop, and then cook yourself, but the benefits are rewarding. And if parents made creative healthy meals at home, their children wouldn’t want a happy meal anymore. I myself have been trying to eat healthier and I am loving it. I wake up more energized, I feel good throughout the day and my headache problems are getting better. If more people would eat healthier and stay away from fast food, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer rates will go down.

  52. I agree with the fact that it is a little too late trying to end childhood obesity. Fast food is the main reason why children are obese. On the other hand, fast food is way cheaper than the healthy food that is good for your body. That is why families with a lot of children find it easier to feed their children fast food and especially McDonald’s because of their dollar menu. Another thing is that it is not even the food that they eat, most children are not active. For example, my brother plays call of duty all day after school or sits and watches other people play the game on Youtube while eating McDonald’s. Fast food is the main reason for child obesity. We just need to make food in America a lot healthier and not so processed.

  53. I think that McDonald’s has a big impact on child obesity but I feel like the parents are to blame. I feel like parents should watch what they give their children. When they’re younger they don’t really have control over what they eat but when they get older I see how it can be hard trying to control what they eat. McDonald’s is never going to be a healthy place so parents shouldn’t let their children it eat. I know McDonald’s is addicting because I’ve worked there for over a year now and I can’t stop eating it. Child obesity could be stopped if there parents control them. Also schools should stop selling fast foods at school because it’s helping the children out at all.

  54. This article immediately brings school lunches up in my mind. I was homeschooled in middle school and because of that, I learned how to make a healthy lunch on my own. The value of creating a balanced meal for oneself is not valued enough in this country. My little sisters who are currently attending the public school in our area talk about how the hot dogs are green and the chicken nuggets served to them at their schools are basically breaded sponges. To make it sound better, the schools serve the same genetically modified fruits and hormone laden dairy products to make the meal “healthier”. I do not understand how something that has so much media attention could get such a small reaction from parents, guardians, and school administrators. In all honesty, I see this problem getting worse and not any better in the near future.

  55. People can speculate McDonald’s motives any way they like; however, the final point is that McDonald’s is in the business of making money. They, McDonald’s corporation, value the customer’s money much more than the actual person and this is apparent by the long lasting negative health impacts. Given, McDonald’s will more than likely never be a healthy choice, but if they could use less preservatives and healthier ingredients then perhaps the epidemic could be helped to some extent. As mentioned before, McDonald’s is founded on capitalism and economic wealth, therefore the use of healthier ingredients is a hopeful feat due to the increase in production costs. Nonetheless, a corporation cannot be expected to halt an epidemic that starts in our homes, we must take it upon ourselves to pass on the wisdom of healthy, yet tasty, alternatives.

  56. Growing up my family didn’t have very much money, the situation worsened when my parents filed for a divorce at the age of 6. Every day I sat in daycare waiting to be picked up by either of my parents, I knew the first order of business…what to eat. Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell. From the ages of 6-10 I ate like this. But as a kid I loved fast food, I had no clue about preservatives, cholesterol, and sodium. And eventually it started to show. I ballooned up from a skinny little boy, to a boy who was a shopper in the huskie section of the little boys clothing area. It wasn’t until high school that my weight eventually evened out. Unfortunately this is the fate of many kids in separated, low income households throughout America. Parents are largely to blame, as a parent you help set healthy eating habits early in your child’s life. I do also place some blame on the fast food chains as well. They are intentionally more heavily concentrated in low income areas. They also market to our youth with happy meals. Most toddlers don’t want to go to McDonalds for food; they want the happy meal toy. The key to this epidemic is educating children about the nutritional labels on food, and making sure that they live an active lifestyle.

  57. I agree 100% with the author on this matter. Obesity becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society, and no one seems to be doing much or anything about it. I do however think that adding a piece of fruit, a very small step, yet a step towards a wealth conscience America, will help in some way with childhood obesity. I do feel this small step is not enough to change obesity over night, nothing is, but if small little steps like this continue in today’s society, then that will aid towards ending obesity. Small steps like this can really impact a society over time. If everyone could do something small to change their bad eating habits, eventually things would change and we would overall be a healthier America.:)

  58. Personally I think that it all depends on the parents. We even read an article on it in class. McDonalds may be trying to make their meals healthier, but to be honest I don’t think it makes much of a difference. Fast food in general, has been horrible for our society. I understand it is quick easy and cheap, but is all of that worth the horrible health problems you will get when your older. I think if parents, managed what their children ate from when they were little things would be different. I am not saying that they can’t eat certain things or that they should not be allowed to I just feel that it needs to be taken into moderation. We grow accustomed to habits that we pick up as children, so if we keep up with it through out our life we will always maintain a balance. I am not saying that I follow the food pyramid, heck I don’t even eat three meals a day I am lucky enough to get one. It all just depends, on what you eat how much of it and how often. McDonalds is not helping childhood obesity very much, but hey I guess better late than never even if it’s close to too late.

  59. McDonalds is the cause for obesity along with every other fast food place. And when there is nonstop strip malls with nothing but fast food for miles it creates a food desert. People don’t want to spend a ton of money and time making something so they just get into a machine that they can take over there, not even get out, and get a large Big Mac. Personally, i have stopped eating fast food especially McDonalds after the movie “Super Size Me” came out and I saw french fries sit in a jar for weeks and not change appearance. Now I cannot look at it without wanting to toss my stomach, besides for a 99 cent ice cream cone on a hot day mind you, but its just not natural. Everything made is just processed so much that you cant even tell what it actually is. Last time I saw my friend eating a McDonalds hamburger i told him to look at the meat really closely and tell me if he would want his grandmother eating something so disgusting. Go buy lunch meat and whole grain bread and make yourself a damn sandwich for the next week. for only $10. I agree with everyone on this though, its totally the parents fault at a young age. Its cheap and tastes great (sugar and salt).

  60. My family drives everywhere when we travel. And of course, we stop at McDonalds for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Why? Because it is everywhere. I’ve been to every state, except Alaska, and McDonalds was in all of them. No surprise but not every restaurant chain can say that. The problem, was that after a certain age, my siblings and I didn’t want a Happy Meal for food. We wanted real food. Our parents, the ones who let us have Happy Meals from time to time, had taught us what healthy diets were and what real food was. But some people can only afford to eat at fast food places, especially with the rise in cost for produce. But have you ever noticed that the “healthier” option on the menu are also the most expensive? You might as well buy the Big Mac meal instead of spending more money for a salad. You can justify it as the fact that you would be getting more “food” for your money.

  61. I agree completely with the author. I just did a paper on this topic for English and I would have to agree that the parents need to educate their children on this epidemic. Just because places like McDonalds offer “healthy” alternatives, doesn’t mean anything. I always laugh when I see the commercials for apples and milk and 4 chicken nuggets. To think we have gotten so lazy in the world instead of making our children food that will keep them healthy and fit, we’d rather just go out and spend MORE money, just to get LESS nutrients. I also have to note that the price of a cheeseburger on the dollar menu and a thing of fries, is less than the price of a salad.

  62. I agree with the author that kids need to start eating healthier. I think that our society has become hooked on fast food and artificially made food. I think it is up to the parents to educate their kids to eat healthy and it can be done easily by making a fresh meal at home each night. This will give kids a good balance of the good foods they need and it will help their future kids because they will mostly eat dinner every night as well. I think that fast food places should make there food better quality so that it is not as bad for your health.

  63. Reblogged this on kailonifurlough and commented:
    The sole reason to why children eat McDonald’s is because of the parents. Not all the blame is on them because it may be just a chain reaction. When a child is of age they ultimately have a decision on what they want to eat and how much of it they want to eat. The parents have to take more control of their own diets as well as their children. My sisters and myself all grew up eating McDonald’s all the time but my mother made sure we always had a source of nutrition in everything else we ate. Now at 20 I very rarely eat McDonald’s. Part of this is from going away to a university and being stuck with eating some of the same meals every week, that I crave for real homemade meals. Bottom line, the parents are the source of their childrens’ diets but the children that are already obese i have to want to change their diets to better their health.

  64. The problem with childhood obesity is that too many parents do not take the time out to cook healthy foods and to show their children how to live a healthy and active life style. Obesity is just one of the problems. There are many kids now that after being obese, they have to deal with high blood pressure and anxiety and depression. Yet, since their parents do not have the time to cook healthy foods or read labels will they have time to be off work to deal with hospital visits for their children.

  65. I completely agree and understand where Professor Hinde is going with this particular subject. As a child, I remember being a very picky eater (while I still continue to be) and would complain about not liking a certain fruit, vegetable, or any other kind of food. As I see currently today within society, the childhood obesity rate is a very problematic issue and the resolutions that are being taking into action is not enough to fight against this issue. I do agree that parents are someone that we look up towards in helping to educate us in what is good and what is bad when it comes to our health and lifestyle, however I also do believe that it is the culture and environment that we live in and are surrounded by that influences our decisions as well when it comes to the lifestyles that we choose to go by. In a culture where time seems to be limited and fast pace, we choose to go after the path that is quickest and that will somehow benefit us in some way and in the end. It is the role that society plays that justifies our decisions. In addition, it is not just due to fast-food that is causing childhood obesity but it is also consequently due to the lack of exercising and being active. Children are becoming less active due to factors such as the rise in use of technology. With today and the current generation of children, they have been more exposed to the change and transformation of technology that they are allowing for technology to take control a part of their lives.

  66. I am a great promoter of health and try to keep a healthy diet. I enjoyed reading this article because I can relate with the point of view on this issue. I agree that it is a marketing ploy of McDonald’s to add a piece of fruit to each Happy Meal. It is ridiculous if anyone thinks that will stop childhood obesity. I agree that the only way to eliminate childhood obesity is to “overhaul school lunch menus, eliminating processed foods. We need to offer affordable, healthy, and tasty options at “fast food” places” etc… Yes, America needs a food revolution now in order for people to regain their well-being.

  67. I agree that fast food corporations are a big reason for our obesity problem in America. Everywhere you go there is always a fast food restaurant tempting you to get a quick unhealthy meal. If fast food restaurants really cared about this problem then they could easily make changes to help. For example, if McDonalds really wanted to help then they wouldn’t just add fruits to the Happy Meals, but instead get rid of them all together. By getting rid of the Happy Meal children are no longer attracted to them and wouldn’t feel the need to have it. I think effective health solutions can be made if the fast food corporations cared for its customers more.

  68. This is a great article, I think that obesity has become such a issue in our society that not only has it affected children but adults as well, fast food restaurants can easily be to blame for its unhealthy fast food production, but society has to be considered a factor in childhood obesity. Among the reasons kids have become obese include poor eating habits and long periods of inactivity, parents can help their kids make healthier food choices and encouraging them to be more active especially if the parents themselves are overweight, teaching children to make healthier choices is essential if we want them to avoid becoming obese.

  69. While I agree with most of the article, it leaves out a few key details in what contributes to today’s obesity crisis. The main problem is that today’s Americans are much more lethargic in their every day lives than they were fifty or a hundred years ago. Before people worked in office jobs, most American citizens were farmers. Every day consisted of manual labor. Additionally, people walked, ran, and “worked out” more before the automobile was invented because if you wanted to get somewhere you had to travel by foot. Kids also exercised more just by playing outside because there weren’t any televisions or video games. It would have also been nice to see the article put more of the blame on the parents. It’s up to them to feed their children healthy food and make sure that the kids aren’t spending too much time sitting around watching TV. If parents would encourage their kids to play outside more and feed them healthy food, we could potentially prevent the next generation from being dangerously overweight.

    1. You are absolutely correct, Isaac. Back in the day people had to walk everywhere. When I was a kid, even with having TVs, we were expected to play outside more than watch the TV. We need to return our world to a place of activity.

  70. You couldn’t have said it a better way. We hold a huge responsibility on this matter. Adults are forgetting about the huge impact fast food has on children. When I was younger my parents would only let me eat fast food one a month and always encourage me to eat my veggies. I have a little sister now she is only 6 years-old and always wants fast food. She never likes to eat what my mom cooks to stop her from winning they please her and order pizza or get her McDonalds. My little sister is over weigh now and it has been really hard to put her on a diet since she is used to eating junk food, which I blame my parents for. They wouldn’t tolerate that when I was younger. Maybe it this time it was different because as you stated in your article economy has to do a lot with it. My mom use to be a house wife back when I was younger but now both of them work. Meaning they don’t have a lot of time for my sister. Parents shouldn’t let this happen to their children and we can work together in educating our children that they have to moderate their intake in fast food. How harmful it can be for them. By adding fruit to a meal doesn’t make it okay to consume fries and burgers or fried chicken that contain more than 1200 calories, which for some people is more than half the calories one day should contain. McDonalds does not care for their consumers they care about their sale. While feeding us with junk food, they have enough money to eat the best quality healthy food. We should start a chain in educating our children in not eating fast food so that they can do the same with their children and hopefully little by little we will be able to restore health in our lives at least in this matter.

  71. I find it to be a bit ridiculous, blaming a company for people’s bad habits. Dietary shortcomings aside, a great number of American children are obese because they don’t get enough exercise, period. Surely, a child’s poor health is the result of ineffective parenting. But parents these days don’t want to hear that they suck at their job.
    Our current society has issues with accepting responsibility, and is far too willing to pass the blame. Take for example the beloved Sesame Street character Cookie Monster who ate copious amounts of cookies because they were his only source of nutrition. Public outcry resulted in the character’s reboot as the Veggie Monster, and while his diet has changed, his eating habits have not. People blamed an obviously fictional character for being a poor example on children instead of showing their children how he was a bad example.

  72. Personally, I think it’s funny that they try to encourage “healthier” items at fast food chains. People just want what tastes better, and if the damage is already done, then it doesn’t matter to them. I have always felt for younger kids when it comes to fast food, because they honestly don’t know any better. Way too many kids are exposed on a daily basis and do not understand the consequences until later in life. While the fact is that some parents can’t always afford anything other than fast food, I think many do have control in what they feed their kids. I also agree in saying that if something is going to change, it is going to have to be something more drastic. If we are trying to create healthier diets, we need to stop taking baby steps.

  73. The author brings up a very good point when she suggests that we need a “food revolution.” It is a valid claim that obesity is a raging epidemic, and fast food is a major contributor to this issue. But the evils of the American food industry are not limited to just fast food, and the victims of this phenomenon are not just Americans but every global citizen. The chemicals in fast food poison our bodies, but the immense amount of meat and dairy farming required to fuel the fast food industry is poisoning our planet. As detailed in the documentary Cowspiricy, animal agriculture accounts for 65% of annual nitrous oxide emissions. Per pound, nitrous oxide has a global warming potential that is 296 times greater than that of CO2. If any individuals wish to learn more about the extreme detriment animal agriculture has on our environment, I highly recommend watching Cowspiricy, which can be found on Netflix. Additionally, meat and dairy farming is land and water intensive. It’s perplexing that millions of people are obese when people all over the world are starving. The food revolution that we need lies in a plant based diet. Until people adapt a plant based diet we will never have a food system that is sustainable. If individuals seek to improve their health, and the health of the planet a vegan diet is the only way. While exercise, eating in moderation, and educating citizens on a balanced diet may reduce obesity rates, as global citizens we must realize that the problem is not obesity, that is just a symptom of the problem

    1. I completely agree that a “food revolution” is needed, and I don’t think anyone could deny the epidemic that is obesity in in the U.S. and many other nations. I disagree however with the idea that the answer lies solely in a plant based diet. I don’t disagree that it would be absolutely wonderful (for many reasons) if everyone adapted a vegan diet. It would solve many issues! The problem lies within the momentum of the food-revolution losing steam when many people simply will not or cannot live this way. For a successful revolution, one that truly changes the collective mind in terms of food, we need all hands on deck. Or at the very least a great number of hands. Its easy to forget that many low-income families have to make really tough choices regarding how they spend their money. It is a fact that eating healthy is expensive. It is also a fact that parents are unable to choose what they feed their children if the choice is between a meal and no meal at all. Sadly many Americans are simply not able to afford to eat a completely vegan diet. Others are unable to because of health issues. At first glance the image of filling a grocery cart with fruits and veggies doesn’t seem so expensive, but lets consider how long these perishable items will last once they get home. Imagine that you are single-income parent with four mouths to feed and you have to make $100 last 2 weeks. Your’e likely to reach for affordable and non-perishable items that wont have you running back to the store a week later. This would be nearly impossible on a vegan diet. So while a plant based diet is a great idea, is it realistic for low-income families? Could the solution lie elsewhere; perhaps in the hands of the system, rather than individuals to recognize our nutritional needs and provide everyone with access to affordable health food? I believe it could.

  74. That truly is the million dollar question Lauren. One potential option is make an EBT (food stamp system) card that can only be used on fresh produce. Otherwise local community gardens are a great idea. However, not every community is in a climate that is suitable for gardening, and if it is gardening may not be an option year round. Additionally in inner city communities there is often no space at all to make a community garden. Even if the government were to do a food stamp system for fresh produce, many underprivileged people live in food deserts, an area where there are only convenience stores and no access to food with nutritional value.

    1. That’s a really great point, Maria. It’s true that there are some affordable options within a plant based diet. The brown rice and beans example is a very good one. But also true that it isn’t sustainable to live off of those few foods that fall into both the healthy and inexpensive category. I also really like your comment regarding the cost of health care. While buying inexpensive food is certainly a great way to save money when money is tight, being sick from a poor diet isn’t cheap either! So this begs the question. What are the best options for low-income families? How can they walk this line?

    2. Absolutely. I’m really glad you brought up the “food deserts.” This is something I recently became familiar with. The biggest problem in these areas is transportation. Many low-income families are without a personal car, and many of these areas are actually rural. Like you mentioned many of these areas are closer to clusters of convenience stores with only unhealthy options, and are lacking in healthy supermarkets. In addition to making food stamps for fresh produce, another option could be to bring education about gardening and raising affordable livestock (think hens for eggs and poultry.) I realize that this wouldn’t be vegan as we discussed previously, but it might provide hunger relief for people in these areas. Education of this kind could extend past the traditional farming clubs like 4H. If it were mandatory for every student it could be incredibly helpful.

  75. I think the common thread in this discussion is the problems that underprivileged individuals, families, and even whole communities face are way more complicated than they seem initially.
    It’s a great idea to have classes that teach farming skills, however many of these school districts are also very low on finances. The children in these communities are drawn in to the same cycle due to the lack of recourses to get out of poverty. If we as a society want to provide a ladder out of poverty, we need not only a food revolution, but a complete economic revolution.

    1. I think you hit the nail on right on the head. “A complete economic revolution” really does seem the only way that the food revolution could succeed. You make a good point about financing for the classes I suggested. It would be easier said than done. But a girl can dream! And my dream is that everyone, everywhere would be able to afford to eat in a nutritious and sustainable way.

  76. That is a very valid dream. I think it’s clear that we need to stop shaming the under privileged. Moms don’t feed their children fatty, non-nutritious food for the fun of it. They feed them that because they have no other option. This issue can also be tied to the issue of minimum wage. If an individual works 40 hours a week they should be able to provide for their families. The book Nickled and Dimed is a great piece of non-fiction that highlights the flaws with American wages. Many parents feed their children fast food because, not only is it the only thing they can afford, but after working potentially one or two jobs in the day, they don’t have time to cook. When we look at the underprivileged with a judgmental eye, we lose the ability to understand their struggles, and therefore help them out of this cycle.

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