When we think of the United States of America, there might be a few key pictures that enter our minds: baseball, apple pie and…fast food? Over the years, fast food has become associated with American culture. Children especially have come to associate fast food with rewards, special days and celebrations. Whether it is the fun toys, the play places or the mesmerizing advertisements, there is a certain spark about fast food that draws children in – and continues drawing them in through adulthood.
Fast food, as well as the large variety of sugary and fattening junk food that adorns grocery store shelves, has played a large part in the child obesity epidemic witnessed over the years within the U.S. It might come as a surprise, then, that a study recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics found that child obesity rates have actually slowed in growth over the past several years. Despite these results, there is little reason to celebrate. We still live in a nation where a third of our children are obese and in African American and Latino communities, the number reaches nearly 50%.
In the State of the Union Address given by President Obama last Wednesday, he mentioned a national movement to address the issue of childhood obesity, which will be led by the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Mrs. Obama recently announced her initiative to combat childhood obesity at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington D.C., where she was discussing the issue.