What is Obesity and What causes it? whether it s the parent s fault or food companies. Childhood Obesity has long term effects on

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Andre Thomas Professor Mary Hays Argumentative Essay November 8th, 2017

What is Obesity and What causes it?

Childhood obesity has been epidemic for the past 25 years, with sources commenting on whether it’s the parent’s fault or food companies. Childhood Obesity has long term effects on society because it’s a bad representation of what our country health is like. Food companies typically target the youth because they are the future of this country and have an effect on those around them. Children are typically targeted by advertisements because children pay attention to every small detail and companies find it easier to manipulate them. Food advertisements

typically are seen on television, computers, billboards, magazines, and even in our schooling intuitions. Fast Food companies should voluntarily stop advertising food because they are targeting minority groups and children therefore increasing the obesity rate of these groups and children across the United States.

Dr. Dhruv Khullar had written an article called “Why Shame Won’t Stop Obesity” and it was about Americans who are given different unhealthy options they could choose from. We are constantly given food with a lot of calories at great prices to help us gain weight. For Example, in the text, he said, “Making healthy options more accessible and affordable, especially for those living in low-income areas of the country, is a vital component of reducing the burden of

obesity.” (Khullar, 137) Explaining how the pricing of food plays a huge role in the obesity rate because there is poverty and those who can’t afford healthy foods play a huge role in what they


eat. Not to mention, if unhealthy food is what is being advertised at a cheaper price, then they are more than likely to be sold more than healthier products. Throughout his article this seems to be a “public health issue, as well as, a social justice issue” Which is what obesity can be considered as because of its effect on society (Khullar, 135).

When it comes to the fast food products they are affordable and very accessible to everyone, however, they are unhealthy and makes you gain weight. Fast food products are consumed more than healthier products because they cost a lot less than other foods. According to Mr. Jason Rehel, “eating a healthy diet vs eating unhealthy diet cost about $1.50 more per day, which might not sound like much, but works out to more than $2,000 more per year on the average family of four’s grocery bill”, which indicates fast food companies take advantage of those who can't afford healthier eating habits.( Rehel) He actually have point because this shows how they target minorities because most minorities aren’t able to afford they healthiest living styles, so fast food companies advertise their unhealthy products to get you to buy their food which is at an affordable cost, but makes you gain weight by the repetition of how much you eat it.

The pricing of food plays a huge role when it comes to their customers. This is how they target minority groups because most minority groups live in low-income areas which means fast food is very useful for them. Fast food companies make their food affordable for everyone to buy it, but more accessible in low-income areas. In the Area Code of 60628, in Chicago Illinois, there are 19 fast food restaurants. The area code is considered the Roseland Community, which is a low-income area with affordable housing; it’s also considered as poverty because the high homeless rate and violence in the community.


According to Ms. Harris Lovett, “companies disproportionately target television

advertising for unhealthy products like candy and sugary drinks to Latino and African American you” which indicates fast food companies are targeting minorities because they are able have more of a significant financial benefit from them (Harris-Lovett.) According to Ms. Teresa Mastin and Shelly Campo’s article “Conflicting Messages: Overweight and Obesity

Advertisements and articles in black magazines” Only 40% of African Americans aren’t obese, which indicates that African Americans consume a huge amount of unhealthy products. The media is very accessible in the 21st century and with this easy access food advertisements can influence their targeted audience a lot easier.

When it comes to targeting minorities, African Americans are targeted very thoroughly and easily. In Magazines, fast food companies start by targeting the mother because they are the one who controls the meals that are being served in the house. Fast food companies understand that women look at magazines for health information. They get advice and resources from a magazine. Not to mention, Children are affected because they have no “say so” in the manner what they are eating. Their comments become opinionated because of their lack of judgment of what’s tasty food them. Fast food companies understand that “women, who make up most black magazine readers, are typically the primary caregivers in their families” which signifies if they can influence them, then they have control of the whole family. ( Mastin and Campo) With this thought process, you can see how fast food companies target African Americans and as well as other minorities.

According to Ms. Harris-Lovett,” of whites Among American Adults, 47.8% African Americans are obese, compared with 42.5 % of Latinos and 32.6%of whites.” (Harris-Lovett) These statistical statures show how fast food companies are benefiting from the money of


African Americans and Latinos. During Ms. Harris-Lovett research, she found out fast food companies spent over $100 million on advertising in 2013, not to mention, her researchers found out that “39% of Hispanic and Latino children between the ages of 2 and 19 are already

overweight or obese.” (Harris-Lovett). With this information, it’s evident to conclude that fast food companies are targeting minorities because they can financially benefit from their low-income and promote future products.

There are 200,000 fast food restaurants in the United States the revenue for fast food restaurants to come over $570 billion. (Fast Food Industry Analysis 2017) Not to mention, the 200,000 jobs that were added to the industry in 2015. Fast food companies are expected to grow at least 2.5% within the next couple of years (Fast Food Industry Analysis 2017). With the increase in fast food companies and employees working for these companies, you can only see a general increase in the obesity rate of adults and children. Fast Food companies are the main organizations that promote and benefit from selling unhealthy products.

Now you have learned how they target Minorities and benefit from their low-incomes and low financial standing, now I will explain to you how food advertisements target children and increase the childhood obesity rate. According to Susan Matthews, “857 Million people worldwide are overweight or obese” which indicates that 12% of the planet is obese; not to mention, this is a statistic from 1980. (Matthews) In today’s time, compared to other countries, 39% of children in the united states are obese, which in fact is 21% more than other countries. (Matthews) 3.4 million people have died from obesity in the U.S, in last the 30 years, which indicates obesity has been a constant problem for years. (Matthews) Now that you know obesity is an “epidemic” in the United States, food advertisements are what cause these number to get to this point and they are helping these numbers increase as well.


When it comes to Fast Food companies, they can influence their targeted audience easier, specifically children because of the multiple ways society has made advertisements a vital part to our everyday life. Childhood obesity has actually tripled over the past 30 years, according to Ron Warren, which could relate to his statistics given in the next paragraph. (Warren) He goes on to mention the amount of money advertisers spend each year just to promote restaurants, which is roughly around $2.5 billion. (Warren) I agree with Mr. Warren's predictions of how many advertisements will be seen by children and the age group in which that will see them, and it shows me has taken a close examination of what is the correlation between childhood obesity and the amount of advertisements see by a child. I would like to acknowledge that Mr. Ron Warren given the fact that some food advertisements are in fact healthy; however, he conducted multiple reports and different analysis on that subject, and he found out that of all of the food commercials or advertisements you see, typically 5% are healthy.

“the rate of obesity among children between the ages 6 to 11 in the United States has increased about five times.” (Hyunjae, 87) With this you can see how statistics are starting to show this epidemic of childhood obesity is only getting worse and there is a huge correlation. When it comes to how long a child is watching tv, the average child in The United States watches Television four hours a day, according to the AAP. (Hyunjae, 88) With a survey done, on children between the ages 4 and 19, the survey showed how 30% of these children tested ate fast food products every single day. (Hyunjae, 90) After reading this article, the author pointed out how the parental influence is a huge factor to consider when talk about childhood obesity. They controlled what their child is consuming, so their lack of awareness could be considered as a factor as well.


Ms. Kelly Brownell and Mr. Mark Gold article was studying the psychological effects of obesity and what leads to it. In the first part of their article, they are considering obesity as part of an addiction because of your constant desire to eat and your ability to ignore that desire. Food advertisements starts off as a mental influence before it becomes a physical problem. They began to call it an eating disorder and in the second part of this article. The author started giving

information on ways the reader or the person who is obese could solve this problem or at least regulate it. I agree with the author about how “for someone to constantly eat after seeing the increase weight shows they are mentally affected instead of just physically.” (Brownell,101) I feel that obesity has a lot of factors that influence it, and food advertisements will not always be the main problem. However, I still think food advertisements still play a huge role in the statistics mentioned throughout the passage.

Food advertisements have been targeting children for years and have evolved with the way they do it. IN Steve Frechette article, he mentions their strategy as “a game plan”, with certain steps to it. (Frechette, 2) After reading, his side of how food advertisements are affecting children, I agree with his point of view. He mentioned how fast food companies start off with the state of vulnerability. (Frechette, 2) Children are shown all types of food every single day, but, most of the food they are shown is unhealthy or have low-nutrition. The author mentioned something I can agree with, he said” Exposing them to nutritious messages on television may impact their dietary program and degrees of physical activity” with this statement the author stated how Fast Food Companies understand that they have a huge effect on parents’ judgments and comparison to other consumer products. (Frechette, 3)

Every article or text that I have evaluated made me understand how fast food companies have been benefiting from children, their parents, and minority groups. They make a strategy to


appeal to their specific crowd, so their product is sold and, so we will be able to keep coming back. After analyzing each piece of evidence, I still feel that food advertisements are affecting the youth and ethnic groups. This argument has made me stick to my point even more strongly because now I have evidence to help support my point of view. Every other had supporting evidence and good statistics to support their claim, not to mention, I didn’t disagree with any author or their reasonings’ didn’t disagree with any author, but not because they were supporting my idea, but because they professional in what they were studying. They gave me statistics, facts and logical information with accredited sources. I am still sticking to point that fast food

companies should voluntarily stop advertising food because they are targeting minority groups and children therefore increasing the obesity rate of these groups and children across the United States.


Works Cited Page

Brownell, Kelly D., and Mark S. Gold, et al. Food and Addiction. Oxford University Press, 2012.

Frechette, Steve. The Effects of Television Food Advertisements on Children. Vol. 16, “Journalism Studies, 2016.

Harris-Lovett, Sasha. “Junk Food Ads on TV Tend to Target African American and Latino Youth .” Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times, 15 Aug. 2015,


Hoek, Janet, and Philip Gendall. “Discover. Learn. Share.” Taylor & Francis Online, Routledge, 1 Feb. 2006, www.tandfonline.com/.

Mastin, Teresa, and Shelly Campo. “Discover. Learn. Share.” Taylor & Francis Online, Routledge, 1 Mar. 1988, www.tandfonline.com/.

Matthews, Susan E. "Are We as Fat as We Think?" EverydayHealth.com. Everyday Health, 03 June 2014. Web.

Rehel, Jason. “A Healthy Diet Costs $2,000 a Year More than a Unhealthy One for Average Family of Four: Harvard Study.” National Post, PostMEDIA, 6 Dec. 2013,


Warren, Ron, et al. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. Sage Publications Inc., 1 Mar. 1975, www.sagepub.com/journalsIndex.nav#J.


Yu, Hyunjae. “International Communication Association.” International Communication

Association, International Communication Association, 23 May 2013, www.icahdq.org/. “Fast Food Industry Analysis 2017 - Cost & Trends.” Fast Food Industry Analysis 2017 - Cost &

Trends, Franchise Help Holdings, 2017, www.franchisehelp.com/industry-reports/fast-food-industry-report/.




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