This is a devastating and heart breaking act and something needs to change immediately because, if not, it will not only affect children’s health but will have dire consequences on the entire country. The CDC states “overweight and obesity and their associated health problems have a significant economic Impact on the U. S. Health care system. Medical costs associated with overweight and obesity may Involve direct and Indirect costs. Direct medical costs may Include preventive, diagnostic, and treatment services related to obesity.
Indirect costs relate to morbidity and mortality costs. Mortality costs are the value of future income lost by premature death. So it is up to the adults to teach these children at a very early age good eating habits so that they can grow up healthy and avoid health diseases and eating disorders. So the question becomes, how do we keep our children away from unhealthy foods that cause overweight or obesity? What role do family, school, the media, the food and beverage industry and government have when it comes to children and what they eat or drink?
As a parent, I know how hard it is to keep children from wanting what they see when you have school providing Junk food. You have the food and beverage Industry offering Junk food and odd at a cheaper cost then 100% Juice or water. You even have marketing and advertisements enticing our young people to eat and drink their products creating the false hope that It will help them be Like the stars they want to emulate. So how do we fight against these outside influences? What measures are being put in place to beverages?
How do we change the health problems we already have now? Lastly, what preventive measures can be taken for our children’s future? These questions need to be answered because if not, then obese children will become obese adults. 2 Family Role in Obesity in School Aged Children Purchasing healthy foods isn’t always easy, especially for low income families who shop for groceries on a budget. Many families face a significant challenge incorporating a healthy eating lifestyle into their home when the cost of healthy food is so much more than the cost of processed foods.
So they must weigh the option of providing healthy expensive foods that will benefit their children’s future against the cost of purchasing processed, cheaper foods that they can afford now. In an article titled, “The Economics of Obesity: Dietary Energy Density and Energy Cost,” Adam Eiderdowns, Director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition stated, “The University of Washington, did a study and found that although people don’t knowingly shop for calories per SE, the data shows that it is easier for low-income people to sustain themselves on Junk food rather than fruits and vegetables. Eiderdowns goes on to state that, “A 2,000-calorie diet would cost Just $3. 52 a day, if it consisted of Junk food, compared with $36. 32 a day for a diet of low-energy dense foods. ” Dry. Eiderdowns also adds, “It is easier to over eat Junk food, both because it tastes good and because eaters of healthy foods often must consume a greater amount in order to feel full. ” Lastly, he states “Low-income families do not have the financial resources to provide a nutritionally balanced diet therefore, they rely on a significantly cheaper diet, which contains more calories in less food”(Eiderdowns).
The Economics of Obesity: Dietary Energy Density and Energy Cost A Eiderdowns, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005. This proves that customers are willing to substitute Junk food for pricey healthy According to W. Roll, Jar. , author of Introduction to Economic Reasoning, this is called he Law of Demand, which simply means “the quantity demanded of a product is negatively, or inversely, related to its price”(Roll). In this case, it means that families are willing to purchase more processed or Junk food at a lower price than healthy nutritious foods at a higher price. School Role in Preventing Obesity In an article titled “U. S. Health Advocates Seek Safe Sugar Limits for Drinks,” Reuters reports that “nearly one third of children ages 2-19 are overweight or obese. ” To combat this crisis, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its updated nutrition standards. The USDA created new federal regulations that will ban Junk food from elementary and high school vending machines starting with the 2014-2015 school year, meaning granola bars, popcorn, fruit cups and calorie-free flavored water will replace Doris, Pop-Tarts, candy bars, Famous Amos cookies soda and other Junk food products.
Many parents are happy about the new regulation, however, Sandra Ford, Director of Food and Nutrition Services fears this new regulation will hurt her school district. She stated her argument against it in a US News article titled, “Junk Food Axed from School Vending Machines. In the article Ms. Ford said she “feels nixing popular snack items from a la carte options sold in school cafeterias could mean a hard hit to our already tight school budget. ” “She estimates her district would lose roughly $975,000 a year if it eliminated all items that don’t meet the new regulations. Economists would not view this drop in revenue as Introduction to Economic Reasoning explains, “consumers dictate which goods and services businesses will produce” (Roll P. 41). Once vendors realize Junk food is no longer wanted but healthy food snacks are, businesses, because they are motivated y profits, will produce more healthy snacks and they will be able to charge a higher price them. Then, Junk food would decline in price and become less profitable. This ban against Junk food is not being readily accepted by all.
There are many people who disagree with it totally and think smart snacks in schools will have little impact on preventing obesity. Those folks are more than welcomed to continue bringing their own Junk foods from home. However, studies have shown that when there are healthy snacks available children will gravitate to them. (Health Education Research) 4 What role does Media play? Children want to eat the foods and drink the beverages they see and hear on the TV and radio commercials.
When pop stars are advertising foods and beverages, children are bound to ask their parents to let them have it because they idealize the person advertising it. Companies realize that advertising towards children is a dominant strategy to pursue in order to earn a profit. In December of 2012, Pepsi partnered with Beyond to have her as the spokesperson for their product. Pepsi realized that Beyond is loved and adored by many young girls and the company knew that children all around the world would want to drink Pepsi in hopes f being like her.
In response to this powerhouse merger, Coca-Cola answered back by getting a superstar of there own. Coca-Cola hired Taylor Swift, another young artist loved and adored by many young girls, to endorse their soft drink, knowing that young girls would want to drink Coca-Cola in hopes of being Just like her as well. Companies are in the business to make a profit and unfortunately they are willing to do so at children’s expense. So although the public would like the media to take some moral responsibility when making and advertising these commercials that are targeted towards children, ultimately, they don’t have to.
They do not have a legal or moral obligation to the health of children. Instead, it is a choice that parents must make as to whether or not they will buy the product. There is nothing forcing consumers to make these purchases. Instead, it is clever marketing by the food and beverage industries that keeps children coming back for more. 5 Government Intervention The first lady Michelle Obama appeared on the Good Morning America show and during her interview with host Robin Roberts, she announced her plan to end the crisis of childhood obesity.
She talked about her goal of ridding America of childhood obesity and creating a better, more optimistic future for the children of this generation and increasing their life span. Her nationwide campaign is called “Let’s Move” and she explained that it includes “teaching parents about nutrition and exercise, improving the quality of foods in schools and making healthy foods more affordable. The first lady also states “that President Obama plans to reauthorized the Child Nutrition Act, and is proposing a $10 billion budget increase $1 billion a year for 10 years to help provide nutritious school lunches to those who qualify’.
She read portion of the text of the president’s memorandum, which stated “l have set a goal to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born public awareness effort to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity. She plans to encourage involvement by actors from every sector, the public, nonprofits, and private sectors, as well as parents and youth to help support and amplify the work of the federal government in improving the health of our children. 6 The role of the food and beverage industry McDonald’s, burger king and Wendy Income Effect – The ability to purchase more as the income effect of a price deduction. When prices are lower, consumers can afford to purchase a larger quantity of the product out of any given income. P 70 According to The Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Obese children are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. They are more prone to have diabetes. They are also at risk of having bone and Joint problems”.
New York City’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, tends to believe the food and beverage industry plays a very negative role in the rising obesity rate and is a major cause in the increase of health care cost. He cited Reuters report that stated obesity in America adds roughly $190 billion to annual national health care costs. The report also stated that New Work’s obesity numbers are increasing at an alarmingly rapid pace. Currently, 40% of New York City public school children are overweight or obese. Mayor Bloomberg used the argument to create a law banning the sale of soda drinks.
More specifically, the law he enacted proposed “a ban preventing the sale of sugary beverages that contain caloric sweeteners in quantities greater than 25 calories per 8 fluid ounces, in cups larger than 16 ounces”. He did this in hopes of helping NYC residents lower their calorie intake with the notion that this would help reduce the amount of overweight people in NYC. The ban caused a major uproar by many of the NYC residents who felt that the Mayor had overstepped his bound and infringed on their basic human right to purchase what they choose and drink what they want.
This also caused the beverage companies and the American Beverage Association to go to court and appeal this decision in hopes of having the ban lifted. The State Appeals court actually sided with the American Beverage Association and ruled in their favor. The First Department of the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division stated “the law, which would have prohibited businesses from selling sodas and other sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces, violated the state principle of separation of powers”. In a statement, Bloomberg said the decision was a “temporary setback” and vowed to appeal to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. Conclusion The economic and personal health costs of overweight and obesity are enormous and compromise the health of the United States. Obesity in our school aged children is a major problem that not only affects the child itself but our country as a whole. Former Surgeon General Richard Carbon stated “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. When we have one in three kids overweight or obese as reported by the American Heart Association, that is an epidemic that needs some looking into. There are so many areas of our life that encouraged our children fighting to prevent further encouragement many of the influences have changed room making business and profits most important to putting our children first and making their health and well being the most important factor.
There are many ways parents although may be costly can choose to prepare healthier foods and shop for healthier products with their kids. Schools are making a difference by offering more nutritious meals and snacks instead of Junk foods. Government is offering subsidies and incentives to those willing to eat healthier and get physically fit. Food and beverage companies are willing to adapt to the change from eating more to eating healthier. Even the mayor of NYC was willing to go to extremes by fighting special interest groups in US courts to ban soda.
Although we may not be able to get everyone on board with changing their lifestyle, the message is made loud and clear that we no longer want our children to be negatively influenced by their environment when it comes to continuing the road to destruction with unhealthy eating habits for our children. 8 Appendix To reduce the cost of society to childhood obesity, here are some healthy guidelines given to us by the CDC: 1. Establish school environments that support healthy eating ND physical activity. 2.
Provide a quality school meal program and ensure that students have only appealing, healthy food and beverage choices offered outside of the school meal program. 3. Implement a comprehensive physical activity program with quality physical education as the cornerstone. 4. Implement health education that provides students with the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and experiences needed for lifelong healthy eating and physical activity. 5. Provide students with health, mental health, and social services to address healthy eating, physical activity, and elated chronic disease prevention. 6.
Partner with families and community members in the development and implementation of healthy eating and physical activity policies, practices, and programs. 7. Provide a school employee wellness program that includes healthy eating and physical activity services for all school staff members. 8. Employ qualified persons, and provide professional development opportunities for physical education, health education, nutrition services, and health, mental health, and social services staff members, as well as staff members who privies recess, cafeteria time, and out-of-school-time programs.