Obesity and the growing trends of unhealthy lifestyles have penetrated the U.S in epidemic proportions. Two-thirds of the adult population is overweight, of those, one-half is diagnosed as obese. U.S citizens are becoming increasingly vulnerable to excessive weight gain consequently from poor healthy choices based on ignorance and habitual consumption trends structured around convenience. The food industry and its affiliates, motivated by profits and greed, capitalize on these consumer trends by strategically altering food production, content, serving sizes, marketing and labeling. There is a clear absence of government interference to prevent such conditions, inhibiting the relationship between food corporations and consumers to become increasingly hazardous.
While the food industry currently ignores the fact that their business practices influence the increasingly obese American population, well developed research has confirmed a strong correlation. The quality of the food produced is significantly compromised in the hopes of attaining higher margins and greater profits. Some may suggest their efforts and goals are the result of strategic business decisions and the undefined boundaries of the capitalistic free market, but they are a part of the obesity problem. Food corporations seek to increase the longevity of their products, maximize their output and reduce production time. Hormones are being used to increase the growth of animals and produce. Chickens are given growth hormones to enlarge their breast size, considered the most desired by consumers. Cows need a large area of land to graze and feed, but instead are fed corn, because it is inexpensive relative to the costs of maintaining open green pastures. This shortcut help facilitates the spread of E. Coli and is not a viable substitute to ensure a healthy diet for the cows and for those who consume cow byproducts. These are just some factors that disrupt the natural processes of food production and cause many ingredients and methods in the industry to be made in science labs.
[...] It has been theorized that sugar, fat and salt are addictive, absent in labeling, and the food industry relies on this addiction for profits. Labels have evolved to state products are light or natural, but in reality the picture of the farm on the package is just one more way to distract consumers from the high calorie, processed, factory-made truth. Food corporations spend billions of dollars, compared to annual 10s of million dollars on the country's total nutritional education, ensuring their products, advertising and marketing grab consumers' attention. [...]
[...] Convenience has been a key motivating factor for consumers while making purchasing decisions, evident in American food consumption and the marketing of food products. Consumer trends supported by convenience have helped fuel the obesity issue America is facing today. Just like the food industry would like their products to be produced more quickly, the consumer wants their food to be able to be prepared more quickly to be consumed more quickly. These trends can be seen in the success of the fast food industry where one fourth of Americans visit a fast food restaurant every day. [...]
[...] While obesity is the fault of multiple factors, not all consumers take the initiative to practice discipline with their food consumption and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As consumers, they must seek knowledge to implement healthy choices. Consumers must know what is healthy or not and in the absence of readily available information, they must proactively search for information to confirm the nutritional content in the food they consume. Ignorance is not an excuse and is the consumer's responsibly to carefully read labels, monitor there nutrition, count calories and know the values of the corporations whose products they consume. [...]
[...] If these ingredients were monitored by the government, the nation could see a significant reduction in obesity and food related chronic diseases. They should enforce strict screening and testing for newly introduced ingredients as well. People would be physically and mentally healthier, increasing the nation's quality of life while decreasing health care costs. Another idea for the government to exercise control over the obesity epidemic is to tax all junk food, also known as a sin tax and can be seen in the aggressive taxing of tobacco products. [...]
[...] natural processes of food production and cause many ingredients and methods in the industry to be made in science labs. The human body contains millions of cells dependent on the nutrients derived from the food it consumes. Many ingredients the food industry utilizes are slow acting poisons that are catalysts for many chronic diseases such as heart disease, mental depression, osteoporosis, cancer and diabetes. The nutritional content of food is being altered by incorporating excess fat, sugars, and salt to processed foods and used to improve a product's shelf life. [...]
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