Disadvantage of Eating Fast Food
Every country wants to become the best place to live in for the citizens. Nevertheless, there are many deterrents, which do not give a chance to achieve this goal. For some, they are poor economic conditions. For example, in many African countries, people do not have even enough food to eat. For this reason, it seems that only prosperous states have the opportunity to gain the status of the ideal place. Nevertheless, in fact, it is not so. If to regard the inner peculiarities, it becomes clear that there are many hidden hazardous issues for citizens. Analyzing the U.S., this issue is obsession of Americans with fast food. In the Congress resolution passed in 2003, it is estimated that almost 97% of the U.S. citizens are obese or overweight (Panagopoulos 249). In addition, the biggest danger lies in the fact that children are the most vulnerable category. How to save the U.S. from this mass addiction? The only solution is to ban fast food by government, especially at schools, as it will give the opportunity to build a healthy and conscious nation.
Reasons for Fast Food Becoming a Great Danger for the Young Generation
Fast food is a common habit for the young generation of the U.S. The survey of teens and adolescents aged 12 to 19 has found that the main products of consumption for them are pizza, savory snacks, non-citrus fruit drinks, candies, and carbonated beverages (McDuffie, and George 115). In general, it has very negative impact on their life. Firstly, fast food is the main contributor of overweight for American children. It is so because of the fast food ingredients. In many cases, they are greasy or genetically modified. If to take into consideration even chicken nuggets, which should consist of non-nutritious meat, it becomes clear that they are made from corn, fructose syrup which is very fatty. The direct impact of it on the weight of people can be noticed if to analyze the rate of child obesity caused by the fast food. It has been proven that within the last decades, the overweight of children in the U.S. has increased at a breakneck speed. It becomes clear after analysis of the percentage of obese children from different years. During the 1963–70 years, 4% of children in the U.S. have been defined as being overweight. In 1999, the situation drastically changed and the percentage reached the point of 13% (Chou et al. 599). In the 21st century, the numbers have become even higher. A research conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics has revealed that, in 2002, almost 65 of the U.S. children and teenagers have faced the problem of obesity. In general, the U.S. government has defined the overweight one of the greatest problem for Americans in the 21st century (Chou et al. 600). The nation’s surgeon general has described the situation even in a more dramatic way. According to him, obesity is an epidemic of the modern time (Mantel 797). Secondly, consuming of fast food by children does not only bring the harm to children’s appearance but also to their health. On the one hand, diseases are the result of obesity caused by fast food consumption. They are heart disease, hypertension, type II diabetes, orthopedic problems, and high LDL cholesterol (Mantel 797). It is estimated that at least 300, 000 American citizens dies from them each year (Greenblatt 73). On the other hand, there are many illnesses, which are the result of poor quality of fast food. For example, three children poisoned and died, and approximately 500 people became ill after consuming hamburgers at jack in the Box restaurants in the Western States (Cooper 481). This incident has helped to find out that fast food is the perfect environment for such food–borne pathogens as listeria, E. coli, and Vibrio vulnificus (Hosansky 897). In addition, if to take into consideration the fact that fast food is made from genetically modified ingredients like soybeans or corn, it becomes clear that it can have even more dangerous impact. Professor of the University of Georgia Steve Stice indicates, “There’s a lot of concern that we’re producing monsters. We hope to breed cattle than lack the gene or genes that make them susceptible to mad cow disease” (Hosansky 902). It means that eating genetically modified monsters may turn people into the monsters themselves. Thirdly, frequent consumption of fast food has a negative influence on the budget of people. It is estimated that American teens pay $138.00 for confectionery, $36, 00 for ice cream, and $67.00 for savory snacks each year (McDuffie, and George 115). Finally, the greatest danger of fast food for children is depriving of them of childhood and limiting their school achievements. In other words, students spend so much time in different snack bars that they do not even have time to enjoy walking with friends or attending such interesting places as cinemas or theatres. It is necessary also to mention that fast food has a great impact on the traditional treating of school life. In modern time, schools are not perceived by students only as a place, where it is possible to gain knowledge, skills, and reveal talents, but as the place, where the main rules are dictated by cafeteria environment, food choices, proximity of fast food restaurant, availability of vending machine goods, and the presence of convenience stores (McDuffie, and George 115).
Methods to Eliminate the Negative Impact of Fast Food on Children
The analysis of the negative impact of fast food on children proves that it is quite necessary to find the ways to protect the children from it. Firstly, on the level of separate teachers, the great solution is to organize the school day of students in such a way that do not give them an opportunity to think about fast food. In other words, it is necessary to employ many interesting techniques such as interactive games to grab the attention of everyone and make all pupils participate in activities. In addition, out of class work also plays a great role. The teacher should explain students that fast food will not bring them any benefits, but only make them ugly and fat. In this case, very helpful technique is presentation of example from own life or the life of famous people. Nevertheless, the endeavors of separate teachers are not enough to stop the epidemic of fast food. A director of governmental affairs for the American School Food Service Association Barry Sackin describes it in such a way, “Teaching kids in a health class about making healthy choices and then turning them into corridor lined with soft drinks and poor–nutrition snacks is sending a very mixed signal” (Greenblatt 79). Therefore, it becomes clear that, on the level of the whole school and its authority, the impact on the elimination of fast food epidemic can be even more significant. On the one hand, it is necessary to prohibit selling any hazardous products at school. School canteens should provide students only with healthy food. In addition, a good solution is to prohibit bringing at school different fast food from neighboring supermarkets and shops. On the other hand, banning fast food will help to reduce the negative impact of it only to some extent. McbBride describes it in such a way, “If we can find ways to educate children that all of us need to turn off the television, log off the computer, get up off the couch and get moving, that would go a long way to get us away from obesity” (Greenblatt 81). It means that the headmaster should organize the life of the school in such a way that physical exercises become inseparable part of it. The appropriate tools for it are short physical exercises breaks, sport competitions, and so on. Nevertheless, to change the situation in one or two schools will definitely not help to change the situation in the whole country. According to it, the active participation of the government in the question of elimination of fast food negative influence is quite necessary. From the first perspective, the government should restrict food marketing to children. It is generally estimated that every day, students watch 3,5 hours of television, which are fully stuffed with advertisements of the products high in fat, sugar or sodium (Mantel 805). For this reason, the great choice is to limit the presence of these ads in programs for children by special laws. There are even some achievements in this sphere. After long negotiation with the special governmental commission, such companies as Coca–Cola, Cadbury, Mars, and Hershey decide not to advertise beverage food during the programs for children, aged from 1 to 12 (Mantel 805-806). From the second perspective, the government should provide the fast food industry with uniform nutrition standard. It will help to make it get rid of hazardous ingredients and reduce the negative influence on the health of consumers. For example, if to regard the products of McDonalds, it becomes clear that they have a good sugar standard but no sodium one (Mantel 806). From the third perspective, as junk food is harmful to the health of citizens, the government can reduce the quantity of it production with the help of such a mechanism as taxes. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the higher taxes on energy drinks, sugary sodas, sweetened teas, and fruit drinks will reduce the number of the U.S. citizens, who are obese, and at the same time increase money for public–health initiatives (Mantel 801). There are even some achievements in this sphere. Nowadays, there are 33 states, putting 5,2 % sales tax on soft drink, while the normal one is 1% in other states (Mantel 801). Moreover, it is necessary to remember that, in the long run, the best solution is to ban completely the fast food in the U.S. Nevertheless, the success of this action is possible only in the case, when it will not be only regarded by the citizens as the outer compulsion of authorities, but also as their inner volition. In other words, before to ban the fast food, the government with the help of teachers, schools, parents, as well as own impact on fast food market, should change the attitude of people towards the fast food.
Positive Influence of Fast Food
Not all people agree that fast food is a negative notion in the history of the U.S. Their first argument is based on the fact that the fast food is economically attractive. It can be noticed even from the perspective of separate schools. For example, many headmasters offer soft–drink suppliers “pouring rights” and get for it bonuses worth up to $100,000. In opposition, those ones who choose to ban snacks and different soft drinks suffer from great losses. For example, Los Angeles Unifies School District faces $40 million loss after banning soda sales on campus (Greenblatt 79). Economic benefits of fast food can be noticed also from the perspective of the whole country. On the one hand, a well–developed industry of fast food, which consists of many companies, support the economy of the U.S. by paying taxes and broadening the influence of the U.S. on other countries. For example, only McDonald’s has more than 30,000 McDonald’s restaurants and outlets as well as thousands of other fast food shops in 121 countries all over the world (Greenblatt 82). In addition, positive impact on the economy of the U.S. as well as incomes of separate businessmen can be noticed if to analyze the amount of money, which Americans spend on fast food. Even in 1970, it was estimated that American citizens spent about a quarter of their salaries on fast food. In the 21st, the numbers are even higher. Secondly, the supporters of fast food indicate that, in fact, it does not have any negative impact on the health of people, as it does not contribute to the obesity. For example, if to take into consideration soft–drink industry, nutritionists indicate that, in fact, there is no relationship between overweight and its frequent consumption. They prove their position be the research conducted by the Georgetown University Center for Food and Nutrition policy. In addition, the center’s study is supported by a grant from the association of soft–drink producer.
Although, it seems that economic benefits of fast food are obvious, if to analyze them more precisely, it is possible to notice that in fact, they are true drawbacks. In other words, the obesity and health problems caused by junk food, make the nation to barely make the ends meet. In general, it is estimated that the NIH spends almost $100 million per year researching causes and treatments to stop obesity. In addition, $1 billion is spent to deal with heart diseases (Bettelheim 29). Director of the obesity research center at St. Luke’s – Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York F. Xavier Pi – Sunyer describes it in such a way, “People come out of a fast food restaurant feeling satisfied. They can’t project 15 years ahead, when everything hits hard and they have a heart attack or come down with diabetes or cancer” (Bettelheim 27). Moreover, it is necessary to take into consideration that there are many fatal examples of eating fast food. For instance, about 3, 000 people die from salmonella found in fast food in the U.S. every year (Katel 1037). It means that economic gains of fast food industry do not overcome the loss caused by it, as human health and life cannot be bought by any money. In addition, the researches, which indicate that fast food does not contribute to the obesity, can be easily refuted by other ones, which show the direct relationship between eating fast food and gaining weight. For example, according to one study as the amount of fast food consumed by the average U.S. citizens jumped by 42% from 1950 to 2000, it leads to doubling obesity rates from 15% in the 1960 to 30% in 2000 (Clemmitt 1015).
To sum up, fast food is one of the greatest problems in the U.S. It has a negative influence on all American citizens, and children are the most vulnerable category. It becomes clear as it contributes to increasing the rates of obesity, overweight related illnesses, and wasteful expenditure. In addition, fast food deprives the children of childhood, making for them cafes and snack bars the only place, which is worth attending. According to it, such measures as profound education, provided by separate teachers, prohibition laws for selling fast food at schools, initiated by headmasters, as well as increase of taxes on its sales and, in the long run, banning of fast food by the government will be very helpful to stop this epidemic. Nevertheless, there are many people who state that fast food, in fact, is a profitable business for schools, separate businessmen and the whole country. In addition, they indicate that researches, which show that fast food contributes to obesity, are false. Analysis of their position in a more precise way helps to find out that it is based only on assumptions, not supported by clear facts. To my mind, if to treat the position that fast food is a positive notion as a right one, it means to choose phantom income instead of a well–being and health of the whole nation.
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