Should buying fast food be age-restricted?
Should there be a limit to how much you can buy in one go from a takeaway restaurant?
Should all fast food advertising be banned from tv programmes that children watch?
Should fat, salt and sugar be removed from food?
What is going into our food is posing a greater risk to this and future generations than tobacco and alcohol. And these questions are on the lips of those who are looking out for the health of New Zealanders.
Too much salt, sugar and fat in food is bad for us. That’s common knowledge. But the problem is that we are still eating too much of food that we know is bad for us. The question is why?
1. Cost. Fast food is cheap. It is far seen as being far cheaper to feed a family from a fast-food restaurant than it is to go to the market or supermarket.
2. Speed! It’s called fast food for a reason! It takes less time, too, than to gather all the ingredients and cook a meal at home.
3. Advertising. Fast food restaurant advertising is all over the television, movies, sports uniforms. Signs, symbols and wrapping, packaging are all deisgned to be attractive, fun and exctiting – and they are a normal part of life.
4. Taste. Fast food is designed to be tasty. Being high in salt, fat and sugar, it hits all the spots that our bodies are designed to enjoy.
5. Availability. You can buy fast food 24 hours a day, seven days a week in just about any town, city or fuel station in the country. You need never be hungry again!
6. Choice. Chicken, fish and chips, burgers, noodles, pies, subs, sushi, tacos… The fast food choice is endless…
So, how can it be stopped? If fast food is such a normal part of life, how can changes be made to ensure that our health, and health of the next generations, is well looked after.
I don’t think that fast food should be banned. After all, every one is entitled to choose what to eat. Instead, consumers of fast food need to know what’s in it, where the food comes from, how the animals are treated, how much suppliers are paid, how much sugar, salt and fat is in it.
Instead the following things can be done… Fast food companies need to display levels of fat, sugar and salt more clearly. Advertising for fast food should be taken off television (so that young children don’t always demand it) before 9pm. Fast food companies should also pay for the clear up of litter caused by wrappers, cups and trays. Prices somehow need to be adjusted so that fresh, healthy and good food in supermarkets is an attractive alternative to fast food. And fast food should be made more expensive by adding extra taxes.
What do you think?
Article written by Ben Egerton
This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry
amongst your students:
Critical Thinking Challenges:
1. Answer in discussion, in pairs or as a whole class the first four questions in this article. Take sides – one group arguing for, the other against.
2. Why shouldn’t people have the right to choose what they want to eat?
3. Can the fast food industry be left to police this themselves?
1. Make or find a map of your town, city or suburb. Mark on it all the fast food restaurants, takeaways and snack bars on it. Then mark on it all the other food outlets like supermarkets, markets, dairies. What can you say about the findings? Does anything surprise you?
2. Design and conduct a survey around your class or school to find out how frequently people eat fast food. Which types are most popular? Which day is most popular? How much do people spend a week on fast food? What reasons do they give for eating it?
Have Your Say:
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