War on Junk Food
Would you give your kid a handful of cigarettes on their birthday? Would you let tobacco companies freely air cigarettes ads on TV? Then, why do we treat something equally as harmful so differently? Countless studies have proven that sugar and trans fats have negative effects on our health. Yet, we keep overeating them, getting sick and dying prematurely because the government does not take serious, proper action against this threat to public safety.
For some time now, researchers have proven the relationship between sugar and obesity, cardiovascular disease, liver and kidney damage, tooth decay, type II diabetes and bone density issues. As we can see, the fact that it’s highly addictive only helps strengthen how similar it is to drugs. On the other hand, the consumption of trans fats significantly increases the risk of heart disease, damages the inner lining of the blood vessels and just like sugar, it’s associated with type II diabetes.
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How it works
Reducing these substances from our diets as much as possible is a critical step towards living a longer, healthier life. However, it seems almost as if the system was set up to make us sick. As long as there are less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving in a product, manufacturers in the US can label them as “”trans fat free””. Hence, ingesting a box of cookies with this label would make you surpass the healthy limits of this ingredient even if you bought that brand for its misleading label. We are here to react against such trickery and to look for honest packaging that helps us stay healthy.
Why do companies like McDonald’s or Wendy’s have commercials all around the place but Marlboro and Camel don’t? Congress passed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act in April 1970, banning cigarette ads on TV and radio. Historically, we have seen how policies regarding regulation and representation of hazardous substances have successfully decreased its consumption. We believe it’s time to protect our kids and ourselves from being poisoned through food too.
With nearly 78 million obese adults and 13 million children in our country, the population of America is heavier and unhealthier than every before in history. We are one of the most obese countries in the world so this public health crisis should be addressed as such. Because it’s clear that a change is needed, we demand the adoption and enforcement of a series of measures that will help ensuring healthier eating habits amongst Americans. Not adopting such actions would be irresponsible and neglecting to our wellbeing and that of our most vulnerable ones.
Let’s begin with education. As we all know, understanding the facts and repercussions of one’s behavior is key when trying to correct prejudicial habits. Learning about how our body works and what it needs to function properly is necessary to change the current eating culture. That’s why we support the inclusion of consistent, controlled school subjects dealing with nutrition and diet. Just like physical education is mandatory, these classes should also be compulsory during middle school and high school. Besides, in order to make knowledge applicable and not purely theoretical, cooking will be an integral part of the curriculum, allowing students to experience a real positive change and also educate their relatives at home.
While education is an integral part of this plea, we are also well aware of the hyper-connected society we live in today and the role the media and advertising industries play in it. The power of commercials and brand identities is obvious when it comes to influencing our consumption patterns and behaviors. Even though we respect the selling and purchase of the goods discussed here, we believe that further limitations and changes should be applied to their public appearance, representation, labels and taxation.
First of all, we ask for the complete elimination of the appearance on TV, radio and public spaces of brands connected to junk food, soft drinks, candy or any other product with high sugar or trans fats levels. Also, we demand a ban on advertisements from these companies aimed at children and request TV programs that are targeted towards them to be monitored to make sure that the references to these products are not as positive as they currently are. Moreover, we want to change the unbalanced present associations to nutritious food “”by including frequent and positively associated connotations with healthy foods and behaviours”” and rewarding creators who generate this kind of content.
We also propose limitations regarding the branding and interactions of these companies with the general population. In order to prevent colorful logos and store signs from having an influence on prospective customers, we ask for the colors of any public display of such brand to be limited to black, white and Pantone 448C (the color that researchers commissioned by the government of Australia found to be the most unattractive and associated with death.) Furthermore, the fonts for such products will be restricted to Helvetica, Times New Roman or Comic Sans in an attempt to stop excessive attention. Although this framework might seem excessive, it’s comparable to the measures taken by countries around the world in their fight against other hazardous substances.
Because the current low nutrition literacy and other labeling issues mentioned earlier, we also ask that in addition to these limitations in branding, all packaging for these foods utilize at least 20% of its surface to include a bright-colored, regulated tag warning buyers about the contents of such product. Finally, we consider that stronger taxation on these goods is similarly important to 1) discourage such carefree purchase of them, 2) encourage the consumption of healthier alternatives, and 3) use the money collected to help towards the execution of the previous measures and make healthy food prices more affordable.
Every minute these actions are not taken is a minute our government is failing to protect us. Join us today and make sure you and your beloved ones will be safe and live longer, happier, healthier lives. There are some faults in our system but we are here to guarantee you have access to the information you need and that commercial interests won’t get in the way of your wellbeing. Every person counts and today, you can make history.