Obesity has been a long standing issue in Europe and in the USA. Young children are increasingly growing up to be obese and our busy lifestyle means kids and adults alike are increasingly looking for fast food and other quick alternatives that can be prepared at home with ease. As a result, people are not aware of what they are eating and are not considering the health implications, simply because dining has become a choir due to how busy we are rather than something we enjoy and a social event. Furthermore, fast food and quick meals are not only rapid but also extremely cheaper than their healthy counterparts.
Balance, not Bans!
Research into obesity surrounding its causes and the solution has shown so far large amounts of knee jerk decisions and solutions. The emphasis on fighting the obesity epidemic is at the young generations, as it should be, but methods employed seem reactive and short term, rather than longer term, preventative measures.
The following represent a proportion of the calls to action in the obesity fight:
Notice a trend?
A proportion of the people involved in the obesity battle believe simply banning and restricting obesity causing factors will solve the problem. In reality it is not as easy as this.
Basic psychology tells us that if you tell a child not to do something- they will want to do it. Take the classic example of a teenage girl who is not allowed to go on a date; she will want to, even for the sake of it, just to prove a point. If you take away fast foods, sugary drinks and lunches from home, they will find a way to consume those items during schools ours and, most likely, in greater proportions than before.
Moreover, banning is counter-productive and impractical. Food items such as pizza, chip, burgers and other sugar containing food items present no harm if taken alongside healthy foods, used as a reward for eating your broccoli and peas and balanced with an active lifestyle. It is important to stress that due to the advent of computer games, virtual worlds and online games children remain predominately indoors.
Balance in one’s diet is extremely important, but the solution does not stop there..
Education and the sharing of information are important. Take for instance, hypothetically, the bans are enforced on children, they’ll have little or no idea why they are prohibited from eating the foods they like. Our young generation need to be taught about the implications of excessively eating and what sugary and fatty foods does to your body- put them in a position to make an informed choice themselves. This will make children wiser and they will start regulating their eating habits from a young age, on their own, resulting in a generation of healthy young adults.
Any given parent loves their child and wants the best for them, however, young and new parents are occasionally uneducated themselves about what should and should not go into their child’s diets and in what quantities. Parents should be encouraged to actively monitor their children’s eating habits and what they put into their lunch boxes. The life of a new parent is daunting and stressful, having to look after another human being alongside managing their usual work and social life represents a learning curve and an experience making it easy for them to turn to cheap, quick and unhealthy alternatives.
Additionally, local councils and schools should strive to create and maintain close relationships with obesity fighting charities and local supermarkets and businesses in spreading awareness and education on the impacts of certain foods. Awareness is extremely important because it engages people to take action.
A particular group is not to blame for the obesity epidemic, however, we are all stakeholders in the obesity fight and everybody, from supermarkets to schools should play an active role in solving the issue. We want to see more actions such as these:
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