Obesity in children remains as one of the core issues in the American society that needs to be addressed with a lot of urgency. To begin with, fast foods were earlier on identified as the greatest cause of obesity among children. In this regard, the main solution that could be utilized to ensure that there was a drastic reduction in the cases of obesity in the society was control the amount of fast foods that were accessible and consumed by children. Therefore, there are different approaches that could be employed in addressing the issue of fast foods in the American society (Schlosser 3).
One of the important approaches to controlling fast food in the society especially in regard to accessibility by children is formulating legislation that would control fast foods restaurants and what they offered to people. As it was observed by Waters et al (2010), the enactment of a policy that would work through controlling food business in the United States was one of the most effective ways of reducing or rather bringing under control the levels of childhood obesity (207). Such policy implementation must work from a point of view that understood that food business is and will always remain as one of the most booming business in the United States.
Following this point, approaching obesity from this perspective would guarantee a substantial control of obesity level among children. In line with this, one of the policies that could work towards achieving this was forcing fast food restaurant to increase the amount of nutritious quantities of foods in every meal that was served to their customer. In other words, when a person was served or rather bought a particular portion of such a meal as pizza, this should comprise of a good portion of fruit and vegetable salads rather than just consisting of pizza alone. In this way, whereas people would not complain of missing fast foods, they would also have access to important nutrients that are necessary for maintaining a healthy body (Burns et al. 29). It is important for one to understand that McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food restaurant has been working on implementing the above policy after there was a public outcry that it has been offering food varieties that were dangerous to the health status of children as well as adults in the society.
Another approach that could be taken in dealing with obesity among children through controlling the amount of fast foods that they took was through controlling the amount of televisions adverts on fast foods that were accessed by children. According Koplan and Institute of Medicine (U.S.) Committee on Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity (2007), the federal government has a responsibility to examine whether those that were engaged in fast food industry were able to comply with the quality standards and requirements that were in place in regard to food and beverage advertising and entertainment (116). It is important for one to understand the fact that whereas advertising is one of the ways of marketing one’s products, the trends that have been observed in the recent past showed that fast advertisers targeted a particular group of audience or rather consumers.
In this regard, children were targeted by foods advertiser since it was perceived that children had no skills of making wise choices when it comes to food and beverages. As a result, these businessmen and women put their adverts during the airing of children programs on national television since they understood that during this particular time, there were a lot of children across the nation who were watching these programs and therefore could see adverts of these foods and beverages (Schlosser 46). On the other hand, these fast food dealers understood that most children were capable of influencing their parents on what they consumed as food. Therefore, exposing them to such adverts would automatically boost their sales of fast foods. Following this point, the government, through various control policies could be able to manage the amount of fast foods that were accessible and consumed by children by controlling the amount of fast foods and beverages that these children were exposed to on a daily basis.
There were also new trends that have been observed with fast food restaurant locations. It is important to note that these restaurants had realized that young people as young as school going children formed the largest market for their products. Consequently, there were finding ways of ensuring that their products were easily accessible by this group of consumers. Therefore, to tap in on this market, most fast food restaurants were located near academic institutions such as school to make it easier for children to access them after school (Schlosser 3). Taking note of these trends, the government should enact policies that prohibited establishment of fast food restaurants near schools as a way of increasing accessibility to fast food. Whereas this may not deter young children in consuming fast foods, it would reduce by a significant margin the amount of fast foods or rather calories that were consumed by these young people on a daily basis.
In consistent to this argument, Schlosser (2001) reiterates that businessmen and women had taken up the task of promoting fast foods in public schools through classroom teaching materials, conventional ad campaigns etc in order to widen their market base (52). Whereas children and young people may have heard once of severally that fast foods were dangerous to their health, such marketing campaigns raise curiosity that leads to consumption of these foods. In line with this, the government has a responsibility of ensuring that public schools remained as a ground for learning rather than a promotion ground for different products and services some of which are very harmful to human health. Therefore, there was need to implement policies that deterred promotion of fast foods in schools as a way of reducing curiosity among children to consume these foods.
The final approach as a strategy to reducing the amount of fast foods that were consumed by children was supervising sponsorship programs that were offered to public schools by fast food chains. It is important to understand that one of the marketing strategies that have been employed by businesses in the past was offering sponsorship to schools which would then allow these businesses to advertise their goodies to students. It is the responsibility of the government, school administration and parents to prevent such kind of marketing strategies as they were more harmful to children instead of benefiting them. Therefore, the policies that are formulated should allow fast food chain to offer such sponsorship as corporate social responsibility rather than as a way of marketing their products (Waters et al. 197).
One of the solutions that have been proposed in the past is educating parents on issues that regard the nutrition of their children. This solution proposes that parents should take charge of food that is consumed by their children (Koplan and Institute of Medicine (U.S.) Committee on Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity 335). Similarly, these parents should focus on providing their children with a balanced diet that comprises of a lot of fruits and liquids. In this regard, parents would be solely responsible for the health of their children thus enabling them to reduce cases of obesity in the society.
However, this solution does not provide a perfect way of dealing with child obesity in the society. To begin with, most parents spend their time in their places of work. Following this arguments, these parents are unable to monitor what their children consume while they are away. Therefore, since most of these children have access to money, most of them spend it on hamburgers and other types of fast foods that they can access on the market. On the other hand, there are parents who have managed to adopt health programs in their home and to them, their children are safe and they cannot be affected by obesity.
Nevertheless, it is important to understand that these children spend most of their time at school and it is very difficult to monitor what children eat or rather consume while they are away in school (Waters et al. 144). Studies show that most of the calories are consumed while children are at school rather than when they are at home. Therefore, whereas it may be possible to monitor and control calorie intake of children while they are at home, it is very difficult to monitor them while they are away at school. As a result of this, the parent approach solution however good it may look like is unable to deal with the looming child obesity crisis.
Another approach that has been ineffective in dealing with child obesity is physical exercise. It has been proposed in the past that children should spend most of their time exercising as a way of reducing child obesity among them (Waters et al. 194). However, this approach to dealing with obesity has faced numerous challenges in the sense that it has proved difficult to implement it in the schools and even at home. As a matter of fact, the modern learning environment is so demanding yet providing very little time that children could use to do physical exercise. In fact, instead of participating in outdoor games, most children spend their time indoors playing computer games and watching movies. With this in mind, it is difficult to induce physical exercise among these children. In addition, school transport has drastically reduced the amount of walking distance that is covered by these children from home to school and back. In consistent with this, physical exercise is very ineffective in dealing with obesity among children since it is difficult to implement while at the same time it fails to deal with the exact problem that causes obesity, i.e. fast foods or rather fatty foods.
Obesity among children remains as one of the most serious health problems in the modern American society. In this regard, there are more that 60% of children whose health is at stake due to obesity. These children face the risk of being affected by disease such as heart attack, diabetes and other obesity-related problems at a very early age. In this regard therefore, the government and the society in general cannot in any way ignore the dangers that the society continues to face on a daily basis as a result of the increasing rate of obesity cases among children. Similarly, the government cannot ignore obesity among children as a serious problem since it has continued to spend more on children’s health in obesity related cases.
There is therefore the need for an amicable solution to be sought after immediately if at all the society and the government are to maintain hopes of dealing with obesity. For instance, the future generation would have an unmanageable budget that would focus on health more than on any other area of the economy (Woolf, Jonas and Kaplan-Liss xxiv). Additionally, the government would continue facing insecurity risks due to the fact that its young population is unable to join the military and defend its country from both internal and external attack. Similar to this is the fact that the workforce would be unable to get enough people to work and develop the United States.
In connection to this, the time to deal with child obesity in the American society is now and not in any other time. One cannot fathom the cost of medication that would be involved in future if the society and the government fails to deal with this problem at this time. On the other hand, dealing with obesity during this time is more appropriate as compared to dealing with it in future due to the fact that it is less costly at the moment and its effects on children are not as prevalent as five years from now.