The Role Of Parents In The Growing Epidemic Of Childhood Obesity
According to David Zinczenko, the editor in chief of the Men’s Health magazine, he describes his childhood as a mid-1980’s latchkey kid. Living in a broken family with an absent father, Zinczenko grew up as his mother worked long shifts and struggled to pay the monthly bills. He describes how every day, he would buy lunch and dinner from fast food restaurants, only because they were the only available options for him and his family can. Although parents are responsible to teach their children healthy habits, there are some cases where families have no choice but to consume fast food due to financial instabilities. Zinczenko then describes how the country is overrun by fast-food chains, claiming that by “driving down any thoroughfare in the nation, there’s a guarantee that there’ll be at least one fast food restaurant. ” However, on that same thoroughfare, “it’s difficult if not impossible to find a grocery store to buy a grapefruit. ”
Even David Barboza, a receiver of multiple Pulitzer Prizes, addresses this issue of fast food chains being omnipresent. Barboza describes how fast food companies place advertisements in children’s cartoon shows, and going as far as to make it difficult for children to differentiate ads from the actual show. For example, throughout the duration of Nickelodeon’s “Spongebob SquarePants” 30-minute episode, over half of the advertisements specialized in food. Not only do fast food chains try to be a part of our everyday lives, but they also manipulate consumers in order to maximize profits. According to Shannon Brownlee, a recipient of numerous writing awards, describes how fast food chains only use 20 percent of production costs for food, but the rest is used for utilities. Also, Brownlee explains how Fast food companies practice “super-sizing”, where producers increase the portions of their products for a small increase in price. For example, while ordering a meal at McDonald’s or any other fast food restaurant, the cashier would ask the customer if they would like to super-size their meal, siphoning off an extra 73 cents in exchange for an extra 400 calories. As I have said earlier, parents are responsible for the health of their children, but fast food companies are also at fault for trying to siphon as much money off of their customers through consumer manipulation.
In conclusion, I believe that parents are to blame for the rise in childhood obesity but only to an extent. Since fast food companies, advertisements are everywhere, especially in children’s cartoon shows. So because fast food companies are constantly advertising to children to buy their products, I also believe that parents are not entirely to blame.
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