The Fast Food Controversy

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As a person walks through the streets, especially in urban areas, one cannot miss to see advertisements about fast foods available in that area. Also, these advertisements are found in television programs and newspapers. They display fast food as fun and invite all irrespective of age to come and enjoy. However, these foods are not always body friendly since they contain high amounts of calories and low nutritional values.

Consumption of these foods have been linked to obesity in children. The imbalance in this foods in nutrition and diet has led to an increase in the occurrence of non-communicable lifestyle diseases such diabetes, hypertension and cancer.as such fast food is a killer. In many urban centers, the rate of malnutrition leading to obesity among children has gone up. On the other hand, this rate is lower among children who do not live in cities and towns. The advertisement of fast foods has been associated with this negative trend that leads to loss of life. Food advertisement encourages children to overeat food that is not friendly to their bodies. In most cases, children in urban areas eat large amounts of energy dense snacks such as French fries, pizzas and ice cream(Al-Saad,pg.1).

This phenomena has led to the introduction of the Sidney principles to be adopted as law in different countries of the world. These principles provide guidelines that aim at changing food and beverage advertisement to kids. The groups that introduced these principles argue that these measures are in support of children rights since they preserve their right to life and the ‘‘right to be children’’ free of lifestyle diseases.in support of this argument, A study conducted by the National institute of Health (NIH), in the US shows that ban of fast foods advertising would cut the rate of obesity among children by around 18% (Alkharfy, 567-568).

On the hand, some people argue that it is not right to implement such bans. Since advertisement is the process of availing information, it does not harm anyone. Children who cannot resist the temptations brought about by these adverts cannot resist any wrong or evil things around them. In addition, no single person is duped into taking fast food by advertisement since this process of availing information does not involve any kind of manipulation by advertisers. Further, this school of thought argues that starting from a very tender age of around five years, children are able to make choices about which programs to watch on television. Thus, advertisement does not violate them in any way since they are of age to make independent choices.

Effects of Fast Food on Globalization

The consumption of fast foods has both negative and positive impacts on human beings. As a result of globalization of the economy in many countries, fast foods have found their way into every part of thee world. For this reason, the challenges brought about by this food and the benefits therefore are being felt worldwide.

On the positive side, fast foods have led to the growth of the economy in many countries. For instance, the fast food industry offers employment to millions of the US citizens in the current economic times when unemployment is prevalent. The cycle of money exchange begins once a person sits down to eat in a fast food restaurant. The money collected is used to pay the employees, buy processed foods from industries and pay for bills such as water and electricity. In return, the industries employ millions of workers, giving them a means of livelihood. In a similar way, the industries provide a source of income to farmers in the countryside from whom they buy raw foods for processing. Again, these industries pay taxes to governments, thus contributing to economic development in the country.

Even more, some fast food companies, for instance McDonalds, have thrived in their countries of origin and expanded to other countries hence help these countries in building their economies. The wide spread fast food trends in the world has created economic opportunities for restaurants and chefs that specialize in preparing traditional foods. Given that these foods are getting scarce as time goes by. The restaurants that have stuck to cultural menus have a large booming business to serve the people that still hold onto their traditions. In urban areas, such  dishes cost a lot of money .This is not caused by  high costs associated with production but by of the shift in demand and supply forces that has taken place since people switched to fast foods. As such, these food joints enjoy huge profits margins. On the same note, chefs who specialize in preparing cultural dishes get employment opportunities in different part of the world because of their rare skills.

Despite all the benefits the economy enjoys as a result of fast foods, the high rate of consumption is slowly destroying the community .These foods are associated with the prevailing rates of lifestyle diseases such as cancer. Even though the foods are mainly manufactured from natural materials, some of them have components obtained from Genetically Modified Organisms. Other foods have chemicals unfit for human consumption and high levels of sodium – which are added to the food during process so as to improve on taste(Al-Saad, pg.1) and for preservation purpose. Consumption of large amounts of junk food leads to poor health and life threating conditions such as obesity. Consequentially, the government and individuals are spending a lot of money to manage these illnesses, money that could be used to build the economy. Most of the lifestyle diseases result in death or incapacitation of able workers who could have contributed to the productivity of a nation(Al-Saad,pg.1).

Possible solutions:

There is dire need for something to be done to change the circumstances the world is in because of excessive consumption of fats foods. However, the solution should be a sustainable one to avoid an economic crisis worldwide. Subsequently, the industry needs to through a transformation to adopt practices that do not cause harm to human beings.

In order to avoid the diseases associated with fast foods, it is important for people to embrace a proper eating culture. Bittman (par 5) suggests that people should turn from eating fast foods to become flexitarians. These are the people who take diets that have higher ratios of plant products in comparison to animal and processed products. Unlike fast foods, such foods take time to cook and in most cases made up of fresh ingredients. Adoption of such diets will aid in the reduction of obesity.

The fast food industry offers many employment opportunities in the global economy. The closure of the industries involved would cause a global crisis since many people would be rendered jobless. However, the adoption of flexitarianism into the industry will bring about the desired change and protect millions of jobs. Fast food companies can turn to the production of exotic traditional cuisines that are healthy to consume.

In addition, the government can come in to control the rate of consumption of these foods by introducing laws such as the Sydney Principles to protect the young generations from harm. In a similar way, it can introduce industrial regulations to do away with the excessive use of chemicals in the processing of food. To ensure maximum adherence to these regulations, companies that break them should be banned from operating in the country by having their licenses revoked.

At the production level, farmers in the third world countries should be given guidelines to ensure that they use limited amounts of synthetic chemicals. These chemicals finally end up in the body causing illnesses. Globally, the use of Genetically Modified Organisms for human consumption should be completely outlawed. Instead, traditional crops that have minimal human contribution in their evolution process should be grown for food since such crops do not bring diseases to the human body.

Similarly, through government funding, nutrition experts should form campaigns that enlighten people on the importance of eating healthy foods. Also, communities can organize themselves into groups that encourage the preservation of their food culture. In conclusion, the responsibility of reversing the effects of fast foods belongs to all people, at a personal level, and at the government level.

 

 

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