Getting their children to develop good eating habits is one of the most pressing problems for parents all over the world today. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, many parents only spend a few hours with their children while working long hours, and they only realize their children have formed harmful dietary habits when it is too late. Parents only become aware of their children’s poor eating habits once they show visible indicators of obesity or diabetes.
Youth eating habits have an impact not just on a person’s childhood, but also on the rest of their lives. These phenomena can be explained by the fact that core behaviors are formed during childhood, and if children establish unhealthy eating habits during this time, they will continue to do so throughout their lives unless appropriate interventions are made.
According to research, the number of obese and overweight children is rapidly increasing, with roughly a third of all youngsters currently having a weight problem. Furthermore, diseases that were formerly linked with adults are now affecting children. These findings should serve as a wake-up call to all of us to ensure that our children develop healthy eating habits today and in the future.
Don’t Blame the Eater
Zinczenko starts the piece by mentioning a situation in which some youngsters are suing McDonald’s for causing them to gain weight. Prior to 1994, diabetes was mostly a genetic illness, with obesity accounting for only 5% of all instances; however, this has changed, and obesity now accounts for more than 30% of all cases of diabetes in children.
As a result, the amount of money spent on diabetes treatment has increased. Obesity in children, he claims, is due to a lack of alternate diets. Further compounding the situation is the lack of nutritional information on the containers of many fast foods, as is the case with groceries. Furthermore, commercials do not warn potential users of health risks in the same way that cigarette marketing does (Zinczenko, para. 9).
Although I agree with Zinczenko that a lack of alternative healthy foods cause children to turn to snacks and other unhealthy foods, resulting in poor eating habits, I disagree with his claim that the lack of nutritional information on fast food packaging contributes to children’s poor eating habits.
Because most of our streets are lined with fast-food companies with only a few businesses selling healthy foods, Zinczenko’s argument that a lack of alternative healthy foods contributes to unhealthy eating habits is valid. This leaves youngsters, particularly school-aged teenagers, with limited options and forces them to rely on fast food to meet their daily nutritional needs.
Parents, on the other hand, can influence their children’s eating habits because studies suggest that parents have a significant influence on their children’s eating habits. As a result, parents share some of the blame for their children’s poor eating habits.
The author’s assertion that a lack of nutritional information on fast food packaging is a key cause of childhood and adolescent obesity is false. When a child buys fast food, he or she doesn’t pay attention to the nutritional information on the package.
Instead, kids place a premium on brand recognition, and it is normal to hear a child order a snack based on its brand name and then consume it without regard for the number of calories it contains. Children would shun fast foods with nutritional information on their packages if this idea were true, but this is not the case.