Probably this kind of food appeared as a response to the needs and constraints of modern life, where there is little time for shopping and cooking. Although some food manufacturers are trying to meet the demands of a healthy diet, other use strategies to sell and advertise including ingredients with excessive amounts of certain elements, sometimes unnecessary and are not described on the label. Thus, the consumers do not know what they take home. This, apart from one pocket to the fraud, is a health risk, especially for certain groups like children.
Recently the Agency for Food in the UK, has initiated a debate on the diets of children and the promotion of food. This initiative follows a review of the relationship between the promotion of food and nutrition behavior in children. The review shows that television advertising dominates promotion for sugary breakfast cereals, soft drinks, confectionery and savory snacks and sweets. The increasing promotion of fast food is showing signs of adding a new and dangerous to the previous group.
Promoting food really affect a child's preference (type of food they like to eat and brand) and what they encourage parents to buy. It has been observed that the more a child watched television ads, the more calories consumed.
What most concerns, according to the findings of the review is that the diet that promises to be far from healthy and nutritious. We know that many children diets contain more fat, sugar and salt than recommended, and that the level of childhood obesity is increasing.
This report highlights that obesity in the last ten years, has doubled in persons of 6 years and has tripled in 15 years people. Just remember that chocolate bar provides a fifth of the daily calorie of a child of ten years needs. Compared with traditional foods home, a piece of chicken in Fastfood contain 30 percent more energy, and a cheeseburger 52 per cent. Type 2 diabetes is already taking place between schools, whereas until recently only affected middle-aged adults and older.
Obesity is also linked to heart problems, increased cholesterol, hypertension and osteoarthritis. One of the most unjustly used by junk food advertisers is to pay athletes and celebrities to advertise food products; quite inconsistent, and that athletes need a balanced diet for their health. These characters should be ashamed of it.
Of course, lack of exercise also contributes to obesity, but it is a different campaign. There are things that can be made, and are becoming, in the battle against junk food. Among other things, forbid their promotion on the part of celebrities. Some schools already offer balanced and healthy lunches. A British supermarket is planning to reduce the salt content of its food and confectionery will be removed from the boxes in supermarkets. Most important of all is that the industry that provides healthy food has to stay away from junk food and promote its products more effectively: fruits and vegetables are not sufficiently advertised.
The road to regulation should be to seek voluntary agreements with manufacturers. Time has passed and has to force the industry to clean up their junk food pantries through legislation. The food needs to be clearly labeled, presumably by icons, with their nutritional content: an icon for junk food should not be too difficult to design.
Source: Summary of an editorial published in the journal Lancet 2003.
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