The food industry across the world has been compelled by the increase in population to increase their capacities to feed the people. This obligation has been met by the development of many companies in the industry, which are profit-oriented. The quest for profitability has led to the erosion of ethics in the production of food products.
While most of the companies in the industry claim to develop highly nutritious and safe foods, there are emerging issues like childhood obesity, which indicate that not all companies should be trusted. The food industry has been keen to educate the people against consuming foods with high cholesterol, but the companies within the industry have continued with the production of unhealthy foods with very high levels of cholesterol.
This development is an indication that the food industry is just a lucrative business industry with companies that are less concerned about the health issues associated with their products. It is also apparent that most of the companies in the food industry have assumed the development of junk foods, and they have particularly embarked on a quest to market the unhealthy foods to children. Over the past ten years, the number of reported cases of obesity among children has tripled. The food industry is to blame for the high increase in the number of obese children in the United States.
Link between the food industry and childhood obesity
Kunkel, Castonguay, Wright and McKinley reveal that out of the 11 billion allocated for marketing in the food industry, 2 billion is used to market unhealthy food products. These products include various fast foods and unhealthy drinks, and they are particularly targeting children and the young people in the society (Kunkel, Castonguay, Wright and McKinley 270).
Current statistics indicate that 20% of the young people in the United States are obese because of their unhealthy eating habits. This trend is a result of the vulnerability of children in relation to the advertisement of different products. Children have actively become one of the largest consumer of different advertising media like televisions and the internet (Coon and Tucker 425).
Food companies have realized this, and they have developed a culture of using media targeting children to market different junk foods that are hazardous to health. The exploitative nature of these advertisement trends has been ignored by the authorities, and the respective companies in the food industry continue to acquire a larger market share through children (Andreyeva, Kelly and Harris 222). Children have been influenced to make purchase requests to their parents for unhealthy foods, and most parents yield to their children’s persistence to eat something (“The Impact of Food Advertising on Childhood Obesity” par. 2).
There is an increasing trend in the consumption of fast foods among children and the young people in the society. One of the reasons for this trend is the shift in marketing strategies for companies in the food industry (“The Impact of Food Advertising on Childhood Obesity” par. 2). Most of the companies have started using toys and other giveaways to promote sales of their products to children.
It is apparent that the majority of the food companies cares less about the toys they offer as giveaways, and they concentrate on selling more units to children without considering the effects on their health (Sharma, Teret and Brownell 245). The authorities in the food industry have ignored this trend of advertising, despite their promotion of the campaign against obesity in the nation.
Zlatevska, Dubelaar, and Holden’s study reveals that the food industry is yet to develop comprehensive policies to be followed by companies. Most of the companies still continue to market low-nutrition foods, which have adverse effects on health when consumed on a regular basis (Zlatevska, Dubelaar and Holden 144). Children naturally prefer eating foods that excite them in terms of taste, and most companies have perfected the development of tasty junk food.
How the food industry has led to an increase in childhood obesity
The food industry is in the limelight of causing childhood obesity because of the active production of alternative meals for families. In the current American society, most parents, especially mothers, have to go to work early in the morning, and many children have been forced to eat unhealthy processed meals.
Food companies have provided parents with processed foods that do not need cooking (Nestle 15). Most parents are impervious to the fact that the processed foods are high in unhealthy calories, and the companies fail to highlight this vital information. American children continue to take most of their food outside their homes, and this means that they are feeding on junk food from the stores in the streets. Most children would rather feed on the sweet processed foods than dine for a meal with whole grains and vegetables. The food industry continues to provide supplementary foodstuff to eliminate the need for whole grain meals (Ludwig and Nestle 1808).
The biggest problem with the unhealthy junk food is that children have to consume large portions to satisfy their hunger. The large portions of unhealthy processed foods consumed by children on a daily basis lead to their development of weight problems. This phenomenon indicates that indeed, the food industry is to blame for the issue of childhood obesity.
There is also evidence that the food industry has failed in the regulation of the prices of basic foodstuff like fruits and vegetables (Nestle 2527). The low-income citizens can no longer afford a healthy meal from the stores, and the food processing companies have taken the opportunity to make profits (Larson and Story 67). The companies have developed products that are said to possess the same nutritional value as the vegetables and fruits, but they have unhealthy additives and preservatives that have high cholesterol levels.
The high rate of reported cases of obesity among children in the United States is a worrying trend. The roots of the issue can be traced down to the food industry because it has failed in the provision of healthy foods for the American children. Companies operating in the local market have taken up the production of processed products aimed at luring children into excessive consumption despite their unhealthy qualities in terms of nutritional value.
The food industry has failed in its obligation to ensure the companies involved in the business provide healthy food products for the American children. Childhood obesity is a serious health issue in the United States, and the authorities in the food industry should look into the development of policies that compel the associated companies to produce foodstuffs that are healthy. They should also refrain from targeting children in their marketing strategies.
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Coon, K. A., and K. L. Tucker. “Television and children’s consumption patterns. A review of the literature.” Minerva pediatrica 54.5 (2002): 423-436. Print.
Kunkel, Dale, Jessica Castonguay, Paul Wright, and Christopher McKinley. “Solution or Smokescreen? Evaluating Industry Self-Regulation of Televised Food Marketing to Children.”Communication Law & Policy 19.3 (2014): 263-292. Print.
Larson, Nicole and Mary Story. “A Review of Environmental Influences on Food Choices.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine 38.1 (2009): 56-73. Print.
Ludwig, David S., and Marion Nestle. “Can the food industry play a constructive role in the obesity epidemic?.” Jama 300.15 (2008): 1808-1811. Print.
Nestle, Marion. “Food marketing and childhood obesity—a matter of policy.”New England Journal of Medicine 354.24 (2006): 2527-2529. Print.
Nestle, Marion. Food politics: How the food industry influences nutrition and health. Vol. 3. Univ of California Press, 2013. Print.
Sharma, Lisa, Stephen Teret, and Kelly Brownell. “The Food Industry and Self-Regulation: Standards to Promote Success and to Avoid Public Health Failures.” American Journal of Public Health 100.2 (2010): 240-46. Print.
Zlatevska, Natalina, Chris Dubelaar, and Stephen Holden. “Sizing Up the Effect of Portion Size on Consumption: A Meta-Analytic Review.” Journal of Marketing 78.3 (2014): 140-154. Print.