Latinos and Obesity in the U.S.

Meliss Arteaga Professor Rolo CHS 114A 3 November 2012 Latinos and Obesity in the U. S. Obesity has become a controversial issue in the United States, negatively affecting adults, young adults, but most frequently children. Although obesity can equally affect any one regardless of race, Chicano and Latino Americans are affected the most. Obtaining the second highest obesity rates after African Americans, the Latino community needs to take action to prevent their children from this epidemic (Galson).

Children should not have to go through the distress of obtaining heart isease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, illnesses that are commonly found in overweight adults. Parents need to take action immediately and be the role models they were meant to be to prevent this widespread of diseases from getting a hold of their child’s lives. It is unjust to blame Latino parents for their lack of healthy choices since the majority of the community are socially and economically deprived (Wolfe).

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Important factors such as education, economics, food marketing, physical inactivity, racial and socioeconomic disparities, are Just a few reasons why obesity as become a serious public health epidemic to Latino children and community (Conklin). Society needs to understand that to Latinos, parenting is valued enormously, however, they are not aware that the fast food they buy for their children is nutritionally inadequate for children because fast food chain restaurants do not provide this kind of information.

Above all factors, fast-food chain restaurants should be held partially responsible for the high obesity rates among Latino children in the United States because they specifically target their communities. Review of Literature: Fast-food chain restaurants target children the most because of persuasive fast- food ads that children see on TV, leading children to beg their parents to take them to a fast-food chain restaurant.

One particular restaurant that is famous for this kind of advertising is the McDonald’s food corporation. In the article: Do Fast Food Restaurants Target Your Toddler With Unhealthy Ads? ,Aimee Keenan-Greene, Providence Children’s health examiner includes an analysis from Jennifer Harris of the Rudd Center. Harris states, ” marketing data is a staggering amount of fast- ood advertising that starts when children are as young as 2 years old” (qtd. in Greene).

According to Greene, Harris’s “colleagues spent a year studying 12 big fast- food chains, analyzing the calories, fat, sugar and sodium in menu items and kids’ meal combinations, and studied what children and teens ordered,” people can infer that although parents take their children to fast food chain restaurants, it is not the parents choosing the meals. Nonetheless, children are aware of what they choose to eat, but are not provided nutritionl facts. It was not unitl 2006 that McDonald’s food orporation started labeling nutritional facts; yet, the franchise has been around since 1940 (Warner).

Latinos let their children consume this kind offood becaue it is cheap and ultimately satisfies their childrens needs otherwise they would not be customers in the first place. Additionally, McDonald’s food corporation targets Latino children and the community because of Spanish advertising, the average Spanish speaking preschoolers saw about 290 Spanish-language fast-food TV ads in the year 2009, and a quarter of Spanish ads aimed at children were for McDonald’s (Greene). Some may argue that childhood obesity among the Latino community is in the full responsibility of parents or, worse yet, for the child to fix (Saunders).

It is understandable that society blames parents for their child’s obesity because parents are children’s first teachers in life, children will mimic their parents behavior. In the article: Preventing Childhood Obesity: Tips for Parents, Marisa Moore believes that, “for better or worse, parents are the most influential role models in a kid’s life” reaffirming that when it comes to childhood obesity it is Latino parents who have the control. On top of that, peventing childhood obesity cannot be in the hands of children because they cannot understand what is adequate to consume and what is inadequate.

It is arguable that children should use their common sense, however, people do not take to consideration that they are only children, contrary from adults who can decide what is right from wrong. An additional risk factor to obesity in Latino and Chicano/a communities, can be the “obesogenic” environment, a term used by Len Saunders. According to Len Saunders, involved in the field of children’s health and fitness for over 25 years,”the op cause of childhood obesity around the world is a shift to an ‘obesogenic’ environment,” which is an environment filled with fast food franchises and food marketing.

Fast food chain restaurants are almost in every corner now, for example, as of June 2012, McDonald’s has more than 33,000 restaurants around the world in 118 countries and in the United states have about 14,000 restaurants (Rosenberg). Argument: The risk factors that fast-food chain restaurants bring to communities should not only matter to Latinos, but to people of all ethnicities because it increases obesity rates in the United States. Increased obesity rates means more death rates in the Unites States and this is a grave situation given that children of today will become society’s future doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc.

Certainly, McDonald’s food corporation cannot be the only culprit to blame regarding childhood obesity, school meal plans additionally affect Latino children in the same way that fast-food chain restaurants do. Nevertheless, there are plenty of solutions to prevent increase in child obesity rates among Latino/a and Chicano/a communities. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” writes Mary Sarah Macht from her article: Right Choices Key to Overcoming Obesity, Macht believes that any helping hand on preventing this obesity epidemic will be of aid.

In this case parents, teachers, and community leaders should start taking action by getting involved in their child’s life. As children’s mentors: parents, teachers, and community leaders should create campaigns such as “Choose Less, Weigh Less” that aim to raise awareness about recommended calorie limits and to get residents to consume fewer calories (Gorman). Anna Gorman states that Latinos and African Americans have higher obesity rates than White and Asian Americans. She has also discovered that obesity s widespread among people with less education and lower incomes.

This is why it is important tor parents and mentors to work together and help educate chi Idren trom consuming fast-foods. In conclusion, fast-food chain restaurants should be held responsible for high obesity rates among Latino children in the United States for being mass-produced, targeting communities by broadcasting Spanish advertisements, and offering cheap prices in exchange of unhealthy food. It is important to decrease obesity rates in Latino children specifically because, as minorities to society they should prove that hey can be educated into making healthier choices.

All children need is a little motivation from parents, teachers, community leaders, really, anyone who cares about children and their future. Ultimately, with the help of mentors Latino/a children have the opportunity to grow a long healthy life, as long as they avoid fast-food chain restaurants and become active with parents and educators. As role models, Latino parents can set a good example to children by practicing to make healthier choices together, instead of allowing their children to fght obesity alone.

Although education, economics, food arketing, physical inactivity, racial and socioeconomic disparities, are additional reasons to why obesity has been increasing it still does not top the affects that fast- food chain restaurants have convicted towards the Latino/a and Chicano/a community. In any case, obesity rates among Latino/as can be decreased in the United States as long as children strive to make healthier choices, for one, refusing to eat from fast-food chain restaurants. Works Cited Conklin, Laura. “Obesity Problem Growing. ” BeloitDailyNews. com. Beloit Daily News, 5 Nov. 2012. Web. 1 Nov. 2012. Galson, Steven K.

Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention. ” Pubic Health Rep 123. 3 (2008): 258-259. PubMed. web. 2 NOV. 2012. Gorman, Anna. “L. A County Launches Public Health Campaign on Portion Control. ” Los Angeles Times. 4 October 2012. Web. 27 October 2012. Greene, Keenan Aimee. “Do Fast Food Restaurants Target Your Toddler With Unhealthy Ads? “examiner. com. Health and Fitness. 8 November 2010. Web. 22 October 2012. Macht, Mary Sarah. “Right Choices Key to Overcoming Obesity. ” KnoxNews. com. Knoxville News-sentinel. 3 November 2012. Web. 26 October 2012. Moore, Marisa. “Preventingchildhood Obesity: Tips for Parents.

Thehuffngtionpost. com. The Huffington Post. 12 October 2012. Web. 2 November 2012. Rosenberg, Matt. “Number of McDonald’s Restaurants Worldwide. ” About. com. About. com. n. d. Web. 2 November 2012. Saunders, Len. “Understanding Childhood Obesity. ” Health U. S News: Eat + Run. 23 October 2012. web. 26 October 2012. Warner, Melanie. “McDonald’s to Add Facts on Nutrition to Packaging. ” nytimes. com. New York Times. 26 October 2006. Web. 4 November 2012. Wolfe, Lahle. “Definition of Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individuals. ” About. com. About. com. n. d. Web. 2 November 2012.

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