IntroductionObesity in children K-12 has increased in the last few decades in countries all over the world, with the main culprit being beverage companies. Soft drinks are a “$68 billion-a-year business in the United States and account for about 10% of the calories Americans consume” (Carbonated Beverages). With ingredients such as high fructose corn-syrup, sugar, and caffeine, children are having difficulty losing calories by drinking these substances.
This results in the global pandemic of childhood obesity. Fruit juices such as apple, orange, and grape juice are supposedly healthy and should be better substitutes to the sugary-drinks, but “..
.. some are found to contain higher quantities of sugar” (Carbonated Beverages). Beverage companies are too occupied with trying to improve their economic feasibility to care about the impact their sugar-filled drinks have with the children that are consuming their product.
The only way to prevent them from hurting children anymore is by putting government limitations on the ingredients used by beverage companies in order to create a better and healthier environment for them.Doctor Perspectives: Child Nutritionists According to nutritionists from The World Health Organization (WHO), an organization that monitors public health all around the world, “there were 2.3 billion people 15 years and older who suffered from obesity in 2015 and the numbers are only getting higher” (Tierney). This is due to the lack of a nutritious and health source with an abundance of saturated fats and sugars implemented by beverages. The WHO also says that sugary beverages are largely to blame due to their addictive nature, an excess amount of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and saturated fat. To determine whether a child is obese is by calculating and looking at their body mass index (BMI).
This uses height and weight measurements to estimate a person’s body fat and determines if a person is put into one out of four different categories of size including underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese, with obese being the largest and most dangerous. In fact, as stated by Teen Health and Wellness, a support group with many distinguished awards that researches and helps teens across the nation, worldwide childhood obesity has nearly doubled since the 1980’s. However, larger increases were recorded in Ireland, Canada, and the United States even with their governments unsuccessful attempts of solving the problem.
Doctors and child nutritionists are now seeing children younger than ten years old with diseases commonly seen in people approaching sixty and agree that governments should add limitations on fatty ingredients used by food and beverage companies to solve the world wide pandemic. Beverage Distributors Perspective: Elementary SchoolsElementary schools are the primary educators of children K-5, but they’re also a primary source of fatty and sugary lunches resulting in unnourished and obese students. As stated by The Interplay of Public Health Law and Industry Self-Regulation, “beverage companies were given lawsuits because of placing obesogenic products in schools while having children continually be tempted to purchase these beverages, creating an illegal and unfair practice” (Farley).
Students are tempted by the highly addictive beverages to buy more of their product, which directly increase the companies number in sales. These schools also purchase the cheapest food and drinks possible at to create an enormous profit when selling them to unenlightened and tempted children. According to the Academic Journal Of Public health,” parents and school boards now propose having the federal government controlling and limiting what beverage companies can offer schools, but it currently largely relies on state agencies and school authorities to regulate school foods” (Mello).
This then unknowingly creates an enormous economic feasibility in the beverage company by having the government control their product as little as possible. Horrific practices such as these establish childhood obesity early in a child’s life making it harder for the individual to lose weight.Government Perspective: VietnamVietnam is an nation that has experienced a rapid Westernization of diet and increased consumption of sweetened processed foods and beverages. “59.6% of the children k-12 consumed soda or other sugary-drinks on a weekly or more frequent basis” as stated by the recent studies in “Vietnam persistent undernutrition in rural regions and increasing overweight or obesity in urban areas” (Linh). These products retail for very little and therefore are bought by the ubiquitous poverty states such as Vietnam. Beverage companies are making a move in Southwest Asia, using children as a means to create a profit.
Much like the United States and other westernized countries, obesity in children is now becoming one of their most prevalent problems. Ho Chi Minh, a city located in Vietnam that encompases all low, middle and high wealth classes, found that “5.3% of their children were overweight or obese” (Linh), and believes that sugary-pop drinks and salty snacks are the culprit. With local governments doing little to nothing trying to help and solve the epidemic in children, powerful beverage companies are selling their cheap and fattening drinks to low wage countries, such as Vietnam, to increase their economic feasibility and profits. Incorporating limitations on beverage companies and health services to not only wealthy countries such as the United States and Canada, but to low income countries such as Vietnam and Southeastern Asia will decrease the global pandemic of obesity in children.Government Interventions: The Expensive Truth When considering what limitations the government will give beverage companies the nation must understand that it will hinder the consumers. Although beverage companies use saturated fat, an abundant amount of sugar, and other unhealthy but cheap sources into beverages, replacing them with healthier options would help children’s health and empty their parents pockets in the process.
Beverage companies will end up making the same profit they’ve been making for years by charging more for their drinks and abolishing the availability of cheap drinks. In turn it becomes one sided allowing consumers who can afford the change to reap the benefits of living healthy lifestyles and leaving those who cannot afford it to suffer even more. Not only will the consumers suffer but the producers will as well. With governments and nutritionists bombing the ingredients used to make the beverage, the healthier option is also the most expensive option. This means that companies have to pay more for ingredients and less for workers. This can lead to a lowering in wages of workers or a potential downsizing of the entire company leading to a depression in the economy.
The RecommendationAlthough it is necessary thinking about the economic status and financial stability of household families, the lifelong health of an child is far more important than the money in consumers pockets. The health and happiness of every child in the world takes priority over the cheap and selfish methods of customers. Elementary schools and governments, such as Vietnam, must take initiative and listen to what nutritionists recommend how to help the worldwide pandemic.
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