Nearly one in five children in the United States is obese. The question really is: how are these children getting obese? Studies have shown that, without a doubt, fast food is a major contributor. More recently, especially in high schools, fast food restaurants and “a la carte” menus have made their way into the daily diet of children. This has been done as an effort to increase revenue in school lunch programs. Though, the appearance of fast food companies in schools may seem like only commodities, they instead promote obesity and unhealthy habits among future generations.
Children who are exposed to fast food might not realize what is right and wrong because of influential advertising campaigns. Many times fast foods are advertised as nutritious and good for the growth of children and fitness of children. This is most definitely not the case. When kids are in the constant presence of fast foods, during the school day, in this case, they become “hooked” on the brand (Simon).
One example of a misleading advertisement is one that has been used very often in schools, McDonalds “Passport to Play.” The program was developed to introduce healthy eating habits and exercise. The underlying effect, however, is that McDonald’s foods become more popular (Molnar). According to the American Medical Association, McDonald’s spent $500 million dollars on the advertising campaign “We Love to See You Smile,” showing just how much money goes into gaining more customers.
Another example of a similar marketing campaign is run by Pizza Hut. The “Book It!” program is used to reward readers with Pizza merchandise and other items corresponding to their business (Molnar). Though the advertisements may be a well intentioned support of education, they also encourage kids to buy their unhealthy products.
The fact that fast food is unhealthy is well known throughout the country. Though the foods may sometimes be low in calories by themselves, they are most often combined and may amount to a full day’s calorie intake in one sitting. While a single burger may be 520 calories, the fries and a drink add up to about 400 more, making your meal 900 calories. When introduced to students on a daily basis, the calories, along with a significant amount of fat, sodium, and sugar can be extremely bad for their bodies.
About 14% of teens in 9th through 12th grades are overweight, and 11% are obese (Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan). This represents quite a large number of children, since, in Michigan alone, there are 2,266,870 kids under the age of 18 (recorded by Kids Count Data Center) as of 2012. Studies support that obese and overweight children are more likely to become obese adults when they grow up. These children also may be at a heightened risk for many diseases in adulthood including heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes at epic proportions. “The CDC recently warned that if current trends continue, one in three Americans born in 2000 will develop diabetes,” according to...