Argumentative Essay: Childhood Obesity
Sample Argumentative Essay: Childhood Obesity and Fast Food Advertising
Obesity is the most prevalent nutritional challenge among young children and adolescents in the United States. It is a disorder that exists when the child is above the healthy or average weight for their age and height. Child obesity in the United States is the leading cause of poor health among the young generation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for children and adolescents between the ages of 2-19, the frequency of obesity was 18.9% in the lowest income group. The obesity rate among the middle-income group was 19.9% and 10.9% in the highest income class.
Moreover, it has affected over 13.7 million children and adolescents in the country. This is because most children base their food choices on media and television advertising. According to Cezar (2008), there is a direct relationship between the amount of time spent watching television and obesity. Children watching television for more than four to five hours daily are overweight compared to those who spend two hours or less. Thus, fast food advertising has a role in promoting childhood obesity.
Childhood Obesity and Fast Food Advertising
The advancements in technology in the 21st century have exposed the younger generation to all forms of media. Further, these children are known for spending most of their time watching television and playing video games. The direct association between fast foods and obesity is evident in the advertisements since the products displayed are high in sugar and fat content. Consequently, children at a young age learn that certain foods are linked to happiness, which further leads to poor nutrition and obesity. Fast food advertising is gaining prominence among children since they are more likely to consume food that is considered fun and tasty in the advertisements (Cezar, 2008). Thus, children are exposed to health disorders at a tender age due to their daily content.
On the other hand, fast food advertising affects children's food preferences and tastes. According to Ashton (2004), advertising will not only focus on TV commercials but also product branding using the famous superheroes and characters that children idolize. Furthermore, exposure to television commercials displayed more positive attitudes towards junk food. This is because it allowed them to form an ideology that these food products were prevalent among children their age. In contrast, in mitigating this situation, the parents are encouraged to have healthier meals with the children since it will influence healthier choices. However, studies indicate that children showed more negative attitudes towards healthy food options (Cezar, 2008). This is because fast food advertising has affirmed and normalized the consumption of junk food. Thus, although parents and TV commercials can focus on healthy eating, fast food advertising affects the children's perceptions and ideals.
The junk advertisements boost the children's ability to convince their parents and alter their household purchasing routines. The media environment influences individuals' food-related knowledge and actions, both indirectly and directly. Fast food advertisements and sugary drinks and cereals characterize most ads that focus on the young generation (Termini, Roberto & Hostetter, 2011). An average child in America will encounter one food promotion every five minutes on a Saturday morning. In this case, reducing screen time will not significantly impact the child's choices since they are overwhelmed with content regardless of their source. As highlighted by Termini et al., (2011), within two minutes of a promotional food advert, they will feature fast foods and their brand names. Regardless of the time spent on screen, their requests will be influenced by what they saw in the television commercial.
The Federal Government has a significant responsibility in regulating food adverts. The objective is to ensure that these advertisements adhere to the Nutrient Content Claims and regulations. In this case, these regulations provide that marketers include the correct nutrient composition and possible side effects to the consumers. Additionally, the Federal Government ensures that the public health sector implements its policies and regulations. However, the ignorance and rates of corruption have affected the nation's ability to eliminate childhood obesity. Besides, the high standards of competition in the fast-food industry require the presence of more commercial adverts. Hence, despite that regulatory policies exist, fast food advertising has become more popular among the young generation leading to an increase in childhood obesity.
In conclusion, childhood obesity and fast food advertising are aspects that are directly linked to each other. This is because the advertisers focus on the younger generation, which is characterized by low cognitive abilities. Further, the presence of technology in the majority of households has facilitated easy access to different content. In this regard, technology, an individual's taste, preference, and attitudes are influenced by the children's content. Despite that the Federal Government provides rules and guidelines, childhood obesity is prevalent in the United States. Poor adherence to the guidelines and effective branding techniques using superheroes and celebrities impacts the children's consumption of unhealthy food.
Ashton, D. (2004). Food advertising and childhood obesity.
Cezar, A. (2008). The effects of television food advertising on childhood obesity. Nevada Journal of Public Health, 5(1), 2.
Termini, R. B., Roberto, T. A., & Hostetter, S. G. (2011). Food advertising and childhood obesity: a call to action for proactive solutions. Minn. JL Sci. & Tech., 12, 619.