Childhood Obesity- Whose Responsibility Is It?
Daniel Weintraub wrote an article in The Sacramento Bee exclaiming his concern for childhood obesity, criticizing the “blame game”, and whom he believes is not taking enough responsibility for this horrendous epidemic that is sweeping our nation. Weintraub states that, “Parents -- not the fast food companies, not the government-- are in the best position to fight the epidemic of overweight children.” I agree that parents play a vital role in establishing healthy eating choices and exercise habits. However, I also strongly believe that fast food companies and the government should share the responsibility of keeping our nations children healthy. I suggest that a system should be created which implements and reinforces responsibility amongst all three parties. All three parties have played a role in getting our children in this unfortunate situation, and all three should help our children to become healthy, active, productive members of society.
With billions of dollars spent annually on advertising to children, I believe that the government should limit the amount of airtime available to purchase for companies that sell “unhealthy food/beverage products”. The growing epidemic of childhood obesity has brought attention to the role that food/beverage advertising and marketing play in negatively influencing the eating habits of children. Children are being exposed to increasing amounts of advertising and marketing. Parents should take an initiative and limit the amount of time their children spend watching television being exposed to such advertising and marketing. Parents also should reduce the amount of trips they take to fast food restaurants and reserve such trips as a treat or award for a job well done. The food/beverage industries recognize children as a major market force because of their spending power, purchasing influence, and anticipated brand loyalty as adult consumers. Companies should decrease their marketing to the youth and start focusing their efforts on increasing the amount of healthy food available on their menus that are actually healthy, unlike the fruit ‘n yogurt parfait from McDonald’s which contains just as much sugar as a sixteen ounce soft drink.
Today's children and youths are less active, consume more fat and sweetened beverages, and eat fewer healthy foods, so it’s no wonder why childhood obesity has tripled since the ‘80’s. One of the best and simplest steps to combat childhood obesity is to introduce children to exercise and physical activity. However, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 1991-1997 participation in physical education dropped from 42 percent to 29 percent, and that almost half of all students ages 12-21 don’t get the recommended 30 minutes a day on a regular basis. The California Department of Education recently reported over 32 percent of youths are overweight/ obese and close to 74 percent are unfit. For...