Childhood obesity has become an evident problem in the United States. According to the Institute of Medicine, nearly one-third of all American children under 18 are overweight or obese. (as cited in Werner, 2017). This issue requires urgent addressing since obesity in childhood can cause diabetes or cardiovascular diseases in adulthood, thus turning the Americans into a nation of sick and weak people. Obese children also face stigmatization and discrimination, suffering a considerable social disadvantage (Jackson & Cunningham, 2015). The responsibility of battling childhood obesity should be shared between the government and parents because both sides have powerful tools at their disposal.
Before exploring the government side of the argument, it is necessary to look at the business process’s logic. Advertising is one of the most, if not the most, essential parts of commerce. No matter how great the product is, it needs to meet the target audience to bring profit. In the 60s and 70s, television became a powerful instrument of advertising. At the same time, children started to become a commercial force, increasingly targeted by advertising campaigns (Dawes, 2014). They could not spend much money by themselves, but they could ask parents to buy something delicious such as candy or soda. Therefore, the government could battle childhood obesity by banning junk food commercials aimed at children. Food and beverage corporations would probably oppose, but their resistance could be overcome similarly to tobacco and alcohol advertising.
On the other hand, children spend most of their time with their parents, who possibly can push them towards a healthier lifestyle. Werner (2017) stated that he grew up in times before childhood obesity was a problem and blamed modern parents for physically inactive children. Therefore, it seems logical that childhood obesity emerged when parents starting from Warner’s generation failed to protect their children from eating junk food and spending too much time on TV and video games. Modern-day parents can fix previous generations’ mistakes by setting an example for their children. Parents could start cooking healthy and delicious food and engage children in physical activity. The video games issue could be solved by playing them together with children for a limited amount of time. Combined with government efforts, this could be a much-needed joint solution to the childhood obesity problem.
Dawes, L. (2014). Childhood obesity in America. Harvard University Press.
Jackson, S.L., & Cunningham, S. A. (2015). Social competence and obesity in elementary school. American Journal of Public Health, 105(1), 153-158. Web.
Werner, D. (2017). Battling childhood obesity. USA Today Magazine, 146(2866), 62.