One of the greatest concerns facing parents across the world today is getting their children to adopt healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, due to the economic pressures, many parents spend only a few hours with their children as they work long hours and only realize their children have developed unhealthy eating habits when it is too late. Parents only realize the poor eating habits after they have developed obvious signs of unhealthy eating habits such obesity or diabetes.
Childhood eating habits not only affect an individual’s childhood, this habit follows them for the rest of their lives. An explanation for this phenomenon is that foundational behaviors are developed at childhood and if children develop poor eating habits during this age, these same habits will become part of their life unless proper interventions are undertaken.
Research shows that the number of obese and overweight children is growing at a startling rate and nearly a third of all children now have a weight problem. Moreover, children are developing diseases that were previously associated with adults. These findings are a wake-up call for all of us to lay the groundwork for healthy eating habits among our children now and in the future.
Don’t Blame the Eater
Zinczenko begins the article with a reference to a case in which some children are suing McDonald’s for making them overweight. He mentions that before 1994, diabetes was a genetic disorder with just 5% of all cases being linked to obesity, however, this has changed and obesity now accounts for more than 30% of all cases of diabetes among children.
This has led to a corresponding increase in the money used to treat diabetes. He attributes obesity among children to the lack of alternative foods. Further complicating this issue is the lack of information regarding the nutritional information of various fast foods on their packages as done on groceries, advertisements too do not warn potential users of health effects the way cigarette ads does (Zinczenko, para. 9).
Although I agree with Zinczenko’s assertion that the lack of alternative healthy foods is making children to resort to snacks and other unhealthy foods, hence developing poor eating habits, I disagree with his claim that lack of nutritional information on fast food packaging augments children’s poor eating habits.
Zinczenko’s assertion that the lack of alternative healthy foods contributes to poor eating habits is true since most of our streets are dotted with fast food ventures with only a few businesses selling healthy foods. This leaves the children, particularly school-going teenagers, with only a few options and resort to fast foods for their daily food requirements.
However, the parents also have a role in influencing their children’s eating habits since studies show that parents play a great role in determining their children’s eating habits. Parents are therefore partly to blame for children’s unhealthy eating habits.
The author’s claim that lack of nutritional information on fast food packaging is a major cause of obesity among children and teenagers is not true. When a child purchases fast food, he/she pays little attention to the nutritional information printed on the packaging.
Instead, they give priority to brand name and it is common to hear a child order a snack by its brand name and proceed to consume it without paying attention to the amount of calories it contains. If this claim were true, children would avoid fast foods with nutritional information on their packaging, however, this is not the case.
Zinczenko, David. Don’t Blame the Eater. The New York Times. November 2002. Web.
February 21, 2011.