[Letters] Child obesityIn the 18 minutes you take to read my essay, four Americans will have died from the food that they eat. The cause of death is obesity. It causes so many diet-related diseases such as heart attacks and diabetes. Everyone knows obesity is harmful for us, but there are so many people who do not care about child obesity. Child obesity is absolutely more dangerous than you think because they are growing up and might live their whole lives with obesity-caused diseases. To ignore this pandemic is to invite harm to ourselves and our children. We can no longer ignore what our children eat, their eating behaviors and the solution to this encroaching public menace.
First, to prevent child obesity, we have to think about what children eat. During last 50 years, there were incredible improvements in food processing. Because of the remarkable advances, many huge international food companies have been founded, producing a variety of food to the public around the world. But over time, food has become highly processed, with extra calories and nutrients. It makes our children fatter and it is invisibly murdering them. These companies must be held responsible for what they make. To decrease the risk of preventable problems, they need to offer proper information, such as precise labelling and powerful policies to make acceptably healthy food.
The second aspect in child obesity is the environment where our children are. Because of our country’s zealous pursuit of education, almost all children spend their whole day in school - including lunch and dinner. Our children are exposed to many foods they can choose from. Clearly then, our children would choose fast food rather than slow cooked meals because of taste and convenience. In addition, even if there is a canteen at school, because of budget shortfalls, the school cannot offer healthy and nutritious food. We are in danger of a health catastrophe and must not abandon this grave problem.
Third, we must address food education. Statistically, more than 30 percent of children in primary school do not know the names of basic vegetables. And many experts predict that their lack of knowledge will lead to unbalanced diets, causing child obesity.
To solve these problems and to make children healthy, I profoundly believe that we desperately need our individual efforts. All of us must care about our children’s environment, and companies have to be held responsible for the food they make. Furthermore, schools need to educate children about food. My wish is for you to help create a strong sustainable movement to educate every child about food to inspire families and to empower people everywhere to fight against obesity.
student of Dongguk University