Who is to blame for the increase in obesity in U.S. children?
Living in the era of computer technologies, television, and video games, U.S. children spend all their lives in front of the monitors instead of going outside. Insufficient physical activities are even worsened by the situation with fast-food proliferation. Fast food restaurants are everywhere and, therefore, children often have easy access to junk food full of cholesterol and saturated fats. About this two-fold influence, it is hard to define the culprits in this situation.
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On the one hand, obese children are often under the influence of their obese parents who bring down their bad habits to their children. Genetics also plays a significant role in overweight people. On the other hand, the digital space in which children live also contributes to the development of hyperdynamic that also causes serious problems with obesity.
Certainly, it is much easier to blame television, fast food companies, and schools for feeding children with unhealthy lunches, even if they still contribute to the percentage of overweight kids. However, parents as consumers should take serious measures to face the problem and accept some share of the blames. In particular, parents’ habits have a potent influence on how children behave and what they eat and it is not restaurants to blame for that. Parents should pay closer attention to children’s education and upbringing to make their kids understand what consequences fast food consumption can have.
Under current consumer-protection laws, is fast-food marketing aimed at children misleading?
In recent times, there is a growing tendency in advertising and marketing of unhealthy food to children, which is considered to be one of the causes of obesity increased rates. Fast food restaurant owners do not deny this fact, but they do not accept themselves as culprits, admitting that this food consumption is admissible in moderate portions. In my opinion, advertising unhealthy products to children should be abolished because younger generations are much more affected by television ads.
They often skip recommendations on a healthy way of life because they are engrossed by more popular commercials. In this regard, fast-food marketing should be oriented on an adult audience that is more aware of the threats of consuming unhealthy food. Furthermore, I believe there should be a balance between junk food and healthful product marketing.
Should fast-food restaurants be held legally liable for the health problems associated with their products?
While considering the question of product liability, there are two sides to the medal. From one point of view, fast-food restaurants should be partially liable for excessive advertising campaigns. In particular, there should be fewer commercials revealing the benefits of buying junk foods because many people and children, in particular, buy fast food because it is cheap and easier to get. Restaurant owners should also present the truth about consuming such products and the way they affect obesity problems, including heart diseases and other complications. From another point of view, fast food companies cannot be fully responsible for people’s bad eating habits.
Since there is no way to prove that restaurants make obese people consume unhealthy products, it would be unfair to make them liable for people’s habits. Concerning obese children, parents should also be responsible for what their kids consume and what life they lead.