American Food And Nutrition Problems: Obesity Epidemic

Obesity is the root of America’s top 10 leading cause of deaths. One in three Americans are beyond overweight; by the time we reach 2030 more than half of the population will be obese. These problems can be rooted back into the 1970’s, which was around the time obesity rates started to steadily increase in children and adolescents. Since young, many Americans have had false information about nutrition ingrained in their minds. I believe that the Obesity epidemic that America is being faced with is due to changes in the standard day of living and the false information about nutrition being feed to young. Many health habits are developed young. So we may not be able to reverse these effects on the current generation, but we can definitely prevent the same mistakes from happening within the next generation. Living standards in America have grown dramatically since the 1940’s and 50’s. “There were no vending machines dispensing candy and soda, and no fast-food emporiums or shopping malls with food courts.” Food wasn’t constantly being bombarded on TV, especially convenience/fast foods. Television wasn’t something that was done daily; it was a more of a “weekend family affair” thing. Unlike today, meals were prepared on a daily basis, even when both parents were working and when full course meals couldn’t be prepared, they also had convenience. But the definition of convenience foods differed from today’s definition of convenience. “Convent foods were canned fruits or vegetables, not frozen lasagna or tater tots.” Nowadays most American citizens who are employed don’t even cook; they’re heavily reliant on processed fast foods. In this day in age, most people would rather pay the price of convenience than take care of their health. Take Uber eats, for example, it's an app that overprices the foods wanted because the customer isn’t paying for the food, but the convenience. “Since 1900, the energy requirements for daily life have decreased substantially with the advent of labor-saving device and automobiles, yet American weights remained the same until the 1970s.” So what was the real cause of America’s tipping point? As less and less American were preparing home meals, the food industry started to figure out ways “to make food more readily available for everybody.” with the mass-production of convenience foods, it made it easier for people to consume more calories. When this started to happen, most people didn’t bother to change their lifestyle to accommodate for their food consumption and that where the signs of obesity began to show.

Many Americans weren’t at the time had little to no knowledge about the nutrition within the products they were consuming. It wasn’t until the 80’s, that the FDA and USDA started to inform the public about how much they should eat. Even though they were informing the public about nutrition, a lot of the information was altered by the “big food” industry. The “big food” industry is a very large industrial food producers and manufacturers, the one that largely dominates the production and sale of packaged foods and drinks. This industry is known for using many tactics to market and sell their products by any means necessary. It’s usually done by bringing awareness to America’s obesity epidemic and claiming that these industries will help America pursue a healthier lifestyle. If owning/possessing large food industries didn’t mean having a greater standpoint in politics, would the government actually try to help America take those baby steps needed to become a healthier country? If it's the loss of money that politicians are worried about, about American “create a new system were unhealthier foods are taxed and subsidize vegetables.” If the healthier food was more affordable, maybe it would be eaten more. The first solution to reducing unhealthy food consumption would be “taxing unhealthy foods and with the extra money being brought in by the taxes by the taxes could be put towards subsidizing staple foods.” On top of the new system idea, more national programs that promote healthier lifestyle should get more airtime than fast food commercials. None of this can be achieved if the public interest is being put over the incoming profit that businesses are racking in. The only hope that’s left for America is informing the future generations about basic nutrition and how it’ll be more beneficial in the long run. Children are like sponges; they soak up everything that they see and hear. They can be taught how to pick up on healthy behavioral actions, but it can’t be when school cafeterias are serving “fast-food snacks in the lunchroom.” Healthy nutrition can’t be taught properly when schools are constantly tearing down the foundations be built to have a healthier lifestyle. The lobbyist with the “big food” industry can be blamed on how the “school lunches fail to meet basic nutritional standards.”

01 February 2021
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