“They convinced our mothers that if a food item came in a bottle -- or a can or a box or a cellophane bag -- then it was somehow better for you than when it came to you free of charge via Mother Nature....An entire generation of us were introduced in our very first week to the concept that phony was better than real, that something manufactured was better than something that was right there in the room.” -- Michael Moore, Here Comes Trouble --
So cheap, so convenient, and so comforting – qualities so alluring, it is easy to disregard
the life threatening nature of fast food. Children and teens are especially vulnerable to such
tempting qualities of junk food, since fast food chains have developed a marketing omnipresence
on television and in schools. In fact, as Michael Pollan, a prominent food journalist reveals, “one
in three of [American children] eat fast food every single day!” (109). Evidently, the fast food
industry has successfully permeated daily life, making processed food so commonplace and
desirable that youth have become brainwashed to alter their lifestyle and diet, preferring high
sodium and cholesterol packed foods in place of home cooked meals and nutritious produce.
Moreover, fast food menus deceive children and parents, advertising low prices and images of
happy eaters, blinding customers to the ingredients that comprise their food.
It is also significant to consider federal food policy, which accounts for why junk food is
so accessible and affordable in comparison to wholesome fresh food; for the U.S. government
subsidizes junk food additives instead of fruits and vegetables. Despite such an overwhelming
presence of fast food corporatism, there is hope: the food movement. Considerable research,
exposes, and community activism is growing in resistance to the corporate fast food regime. For
example, Michael Pollan, the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, exposes the true nature of our
industrial food, as a poor manifestation of processed corn. Furthering the argument about junk
food manipulation, writer Eric Schlosser argues that multinational corporations use target
marketing in schools so that children and parents perceive junk food establishments as their loyal
friends. Alternatively, writer Daniel Imhoff advocates for the return of “victory gardens” as a
means of restoring our national health and food security.
While cheap, convenient, and comforting ready-made food may seem like the best
economic value, in reality, the excessive consumption only provides youth temporary
satisfaction and costly long-term health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Therefore, in order for meaningful change to occur, our nation’s youth, parents, and politicians
have to collectively reevaluate food policy, eating habits, and food values.
Lack of self-restraint and laziness are common explanations for...