Following the discovery that one-third of children and teenagers are overweight, the proportion of obese children in the United States has recently reached an all-time high. A raging debate has prompted scientists to look into the cause of the rise in obesity rates in the United States, with the climate in which a child grows being recognized as a key factor in the condition’s occurrence. Obesity is on the rise in the United States, thanks to an increase in fast food intake, the the use of genetically modified foods, and aggressive media ads. The primary reason for the high incidence of obesity is attributed to the fact that many young people are consuming hyperpalatable and junk food choices. Most of the foods that are consumed as produced by mixing various ingredients with a diverse range of chemical that have adverse effects on the human user. The ingredients are often made to be cheap so ensure that the final product is affordable by the target consumer and also to warrant that they can last long while staying palatable so that the consumer does not get enough of it. Research has demonstrated that there are significant positive association between the availability of junk food and the incidence of high Basal Metabolic Index (BMI) (Datar and Nicosia 313). The effect is that manufacturers have gotten into the habit of making hyperpalatable foods that ensure that one does not get enough and that require that one takes a lot of it and that they purchase them repetitively. In fact, it has even been found that most processed foods fail to assume the food ingredients that tare used in making them as they are often high in calories that make the user gain unnecessary weight and in the process become obese.
It is further important to highlight the role of addiction to engineered foods that are intended to stimulate the nervous systems and the reward centers of the brain. It is, however, essential to emphasize that there is a paucity of knowledge describing the association existing between the occurrence of obesity and the use of drugs (Hayatbakhsh et al. 351). The most commonly implied substances in the causation of obesity among the young generation include cannabis, nicotine, alcohol and cocaine. The nature of action is that through the addition to junk foods, there is a likelihood that one will lose their eating behavior patterns and in the process become susceptible to poor eating habits. The frequency of cannabis use has most notably been identified to show positive correlation to the occurrence of obesity. Research has primarily been focused on the developing nation where it is noted to be common among the teenage years following the studies done in the United States and Australia. The assumption was backed by the finding that with its increased use among adolescents, there was a consequent rise in the prevalence of obesity among children and teenagers. Controversially, the justification for the findings is from the fact that cannabis and other addictive drugs increase one’s appetite for munchies that eventually places the subject at risk of obesity.
Finally, it is affirmed that the increase in childhood obesity is related to the aggressive marketing behaviors by food companies targeting children as the end consumers of their products. It is common that food institutions are taking advantage of the primitive nature of their consumers to offer misleading claims about the benefits that are anticipated when one uses a given product (Schwartz, Kunkel, and Delucia 32). In fact, research show that the institutes even proceed to pay huge amounts of money to sponsor scientists and other heath institutions to promote their products. The television was initially the only medium that food companies would use but over the years, there has been a shift following the emergence of the internet, video games, cells phones, social media and many other outlets. Food companies have taken advantages of the fact that today, many TV channels have programs that are specifically for children and they use such platforms to learn about the intended products. The reality is so controversial that some have even argued that food companies offering controversial choices to innocent children are even worse that tobacco companies.
In summary, it is worth emphasizing that the increases in the incidence of obesity over the past few years is as a result of the rise in the consumption of junk food, the use of cannabis and other addictive drugs, and the aggressive marketing schemes targeted on children. All three considerations have been noted to be due to the advances in technology and the lifestyle changes that are typical in the twenty-first century. It is thus recommended that to curb the growing challenge of the state of being overweight among children, moderation should be done on TV advertising, more safety precautions for drug users, and massive sensitization to ensure there is reduced intake of junk food.
Datar, Ashlesha, and Nancy Nicosia. “Junk Food in Schools and Childhood Obesity.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 31.2 (2012): 312–337. Web.
Hayatbakhsh, Mohammad R. et al. “Cannabis Use and Obesity and Young Adults.” The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 36.6 (2010): 350–356. Web.
Schwartz, Marlene B, Dale Kunkel, and Sarah Delucia. “Food Marketing to Youth : Pervasive , Powerful , and Pernicious.” Communication Research Trends 32.2 (2013): 4–14. Print.