You might be asking why is a weight-loss article on an ecomomic blog? I’ll tell you why. Because the food source is causing people to be horrible fat and sick. You know what? It’s very expensive to the economy too. Consider how much of our GDP is spent on these medical problems and how much money the food industry makes. It’s the pink elephant in the room. Give this article a quick read and you’ll see what I mean:
Everyone wants to get involved in the war on childhood obesity in the U.S., from Congress to British chef Jamie Oliver, but who will ultimately have the most impact to effect long term nutritious change?
It is a fact that U.S. children are obese. Potato chips and French fries make up 50% of all vegetables that children aged 17 and under consume here. The Government is alarmed by the idea of a whole generation that is obese with prospects of a shorter life span than their parents. Diabetes is just one of the serious residual effects of a corpulent generation, and is poised to crush an already overburdened U.S. health care system.
Childhood obesity statistics have shown a three-fold increase between 1990 and 2011 with the U.S. Government declaring it a “national epidemic”. What began as a noble effort to provide healthy nutritious meals to school children has now been elevated to the ranks of corporate American food companies. Who is responsible for this epidemic and will healthy food win out over “fast food?”
What do American kids like to eat? A recent federal report states the prime source of calories for them today are: cookies, cakes, pizza and sweetened drinks. While Congress is attempting to tackle the topic of popular unhealthy food by delivering less fat, sugar and salt to these foods, most of them are readily available through school lunches or school vending machines. The cumulative health results of a long term junk food diet are not only an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, but also a psychological toll with increased risk of depression and anxiety.
Certain legislation to address the nutritional needs of Americas youth have been enacted, beginning in 1946 with the National School Lunch Act to the recent (2002) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program to qualifying schools. Today this lunch program reaches 31 million children each day. On the other end of the spectrum are the food manufacturers with the dollar power to advertise items from the daily school children’s diet – their target audience.
Food manufacturers have millions of dollars at stake, with Congress pushing voluntary advertising marketing guidelines. Industry marketing expenditures to this targeted group in 2006 was $50 million dollars for 10 categories of food including sugar-coated breakfast cereals, carbonated beverages and restaurant food.