Why We Need a Solution
Carol Smith, a journalist from United Nations University, writes about a debate on junk food which aims to ask the question as to whether junk food should essentially be “illegal”, in an excessive sense. Should there be laws designed to curb junk food consumption, specifically amongst children? Smith proceeds to tell us that “the logic behind this notion precedes the trend of every one and three kids and teens are overweight or obese in the U.S.” Smith tells his readers that The American Heart Association is especially worried because “obesity in children is causing a range of chronic health issues that formerly were not seen until adulthood; things like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol are just a few.” It’s understandable that none of these unhealthy habits are not helping the society. Smith says “Is it not grossly paradoxical and ridiculously counterproductive that the US government spends billions of dollars to support the production of additives key in confecting junk food (like high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated vegetable oils)?” Because corporate giants are targeting the markets associated with the youth and the lower class, Smith again supports his statement by clarifying in his article “new study finds that the rate of increase in consumption of “unhealthy commodities” (soft drinks and processed foods high in salt, fat, and sugar, as well as tobacco and alcohol) is fastest in low- and middle-income countries.” As mentioned before, it’s no secret what these companies are doing with their health endangering food and products.
This solution is very simple, The U.S needs to adjust its guidelines for what they allow to be considered food as many other countries already have. There is debate as to whether the federal, state, and local governments should take a more active role in the regulation of fat-and sugar-laden foods, or simply move to the sidelines. “In 2007, New York City issued a first-ever law restricting artificial trans fats in restaurants. Since then, other cities have followed suit.” This debate has begun to play out in the public sphere in certain municipalities such as New York, California, and El Monte; these places have issued restriction laws from a “soda tax” to laws that restrict artificial trans fats in restaurants. However, it is important to highlight the government’s role. Smith pronounces “The health pandemic in the U.S. is being tackled at various levels of government, the mayor of New York City is introducing a proposition that would effectively limit the size of all sweetened drinks to just sixteen ounces.” The mayor has already taken other steps to try and curb the cities high rates of obesity and overweight individuals by including banning trans-fats and requiring calorie counts on restaurant menus.
As you can see change is starting to happen in some cities already but it is still not enough when many other safety issues regarding food are still ignored. For these reasons, citizens from all around the country need to decide to take a stand and fight for the rules to be changed so that these company are held to a higher standard for the what they feed to the public.