The food and health industry is one of the biggest industries in America. Over the years, people have become more interested in knowing more about the food they eat. This follows the rising cases of food related illnesses and deaths. The rates of obesity have increased over the years, and it has become a serious national problem. The government, health nutritionists, and other health practitioners are concerned about obesity and overweight problems in people, and they have raised awareness on the issue. Obesity causes many health problems, some of which include heart diseases and increasing rates of diabetes. Coupled with this is the fact that obese and overweight individuals experience loss of self-esteem. As people look at whom to blame for this problem, the blame game has shifted from the government to the food companies, but rarely have people considered the fact that they are responsible for their own health.
There are many food and beverage companies in the country, but a few of them have managed to grow nationally, to become multibillion companies. The companies specialize in manufacturing processed foods and drinks. Processed foods and drinks are some of the main causes of obesity and weight increase in people. They are also responsible for causing some health problems. This is because they contain a lot of sugars, fats, and salts. These ingredients are risky for the human body, and people should consume them moderately. The companies have managed to entice people to consume the products using different means. They spend a lot of money advertising products and making them more accessible to people. They market the products well, making sure that they are available in many locations and that they are cheap and affordable (1). The food companies have invested in research, and they have come up with different flavors that will entice people and make sure that every person can get his or her preferences.
People are responsible for their health. They are responsible for determining the food they choose to eat. People have changed their lifestyles, mostly because of the changing work environment and increased income. In addition, people tend to eat too much. Many people live a sedentary lifestyle, yet they continue to eat the same amount of food that people ate when they were more active. This means that they pack more calories in their bodies, and they do not utilize them. There are many campaigns in different media, which seek to inform people to eat well and lead healthier lifestyles. Fitness companies bombard people with messages encouraging them to buy and use fitness products or join fitness clubs. Despite the available information, people tend to ignore these messages, and they choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle. Parents have the responsibility of molding their children’s lifestyle at a young age, but some of them lack the knowledge. Many consumers tend to be more concerned about the taste of the products, and despite the health campaigns, they buy what they please. They do not want to hear overwhelming messages about the nutritive content of food. This happens to both the young and the old. The baby boomers are snacking just as much as the young people are, and they are choosing products with salt and fats. They are not looking for the healthier alternatives (2).
Governments have a responsibility of informing and protecting the people, and this applies to the food industry as well. The government has the power to intervene and ensure that people are more informed about the choices that they make (2). The government does this by requiring that manufacturers list all the ingredients they have used in their products. However, the government should do more to ensure that people know what they are purchasing. It should require manufacturers in the food industry to put labels advising on the consequences of consuming the products in high quantities; the same approach it uses with cigarettes and tobacco products. Healthy foods are more expensive compared to the processed and unhealthy alternatives. The government should provide more support to the farmers by encouraging them to plant organic and healthier foods.
Many people understand red meat such as beef and pork to be the main cause of heart failure and heart disease. Some people have stopped consuming red meat because of this. However, others have found a way of ensuring that people get red meat from other sources, and this has led to the increasing interest in test tube meat (3). Although this may please animal welfare enthusiasts since it will mean that people will not have to kill animals, it does not do much in addressing people’s health and dietary concerns. If the test tube meat research succeeds, it will mean that people will continue or increase their consumption of red meat. Instead of investing money in this research, the government and other stakeholders should conduct a campaign that will address responsible eating. This campaign should encourage people to eat everything in moderation, and not to overdo it.
Food companies are noticing the changing trends as people become concerned with their health. People have realized the consequences of eating processed foods, and they have begun changing their lifestyles. They are looking for healthier alternatives, such as products with fewer sugars and salts, and healthier fats. In addition, food-manufacturing companies are acknowledging their responsibility in addressing the country’s health problems (2). Many food companies have responded to this by creating a new line of food and drink products, which contain natural and healthy ingredients.
1. Seabrook, J. Snacks for a Fat Planet: PepsiCo takes Stock of the Obesity Epidemic. The New Yorker; May 16, 2011. Available at: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/16/110516fa_fact_seabrook?currentPage=all. Accessed April 30, 2013
2. Moss, M. The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food. The New York Times; February 20, 2013. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0. Accessed April 30, 2013
3. Specter, M. Test-tube Burgers; Annals of Science. The New Yorker; May 23, 2011. Available at: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/23/110523fa_fact_specter. Accessed April 30, 2013