TED Conversations

tsepang setipa

This conversation is closed.

Is giving Junk food to kids child abuse?

We live in a world where children obesity is growing in large numbers, and yet very few parents seem to be doing anything about it. One can argue that children can really not be to blame as these food choices and lifestyles are made for them from early ages. So my question is whether the habit of constantly getting children used to junk food should be deemed as child abuse or not and what do you think should be done about this.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jul 20 2011: I wouldnt say it was abuse, as the parents who do feed there children with junk food will most probably themselves be eating the same way.

    I think the challenge to change is a tough one, and lie greatly up to the government to step in and controll the big companies who make and sell the confectionery. These companies goal is profit, they don't care who gets fat or who dies from a heart attack from over indulging in fatty foods, all they want to see is the $$$ they make there food to taste good and BE ADDICTIVE to some extent. The more they can get the customer hooked the more reoccurring income they have.

    I hear people put down fat individuals and confectionry company's shifting the blame saying that "it's the own persons fault for being fat and unhealthy".

    To some degree sure that is true and makes sense, but open your eyes, at a young age kids taste there first sweet, "Mmm yum, I want more" this is where the parent comes in and have to control the amounts, but if the parent isn't educated, is addicted to some extent to junk food them seves or gives in to the current begging of their child well the kid will grow up with a habit, and when they have kids the process repeats.
     It is up to the individual to understand for them seves the risks, make some tough diet decisions, work up the will power to put it into practise and then have the streangh to see it out and not give in to the temptation of a delicious snack, which are broadcasted infront of us on a daily basis.
    • thumb
      Jul 20 2011: you never will solve the issue by controlling the supply. you can't treat people as sheep that need a shepherd. you have to trust the people to be the shepherd of their own life.
      • thumb
        Jul 20 2011: I'm not saying you need to control the people, but I think there is need to control the supply. Sure give the people information, and teach them what is good/bad for them, right and wrong.
         
        At the end of the day big corporations spend millions hiring experts to research better ways to sell produce and get keep people coming back for more. So by stepping aside and allowing the this to happen there is morally wrong, It is unfair. With the world how it is today, full of laws and inequality, i think it is absolutely necessary to Shepard the people to some extent, otherwise there is chaos.

         It's like letting a 10 year old kid getting beat up by a 15 year old kid who is bigger and stronger, and then saying "i shouldn't step in and and do anything, because that would be a reflection of my own view of what is right on wrong, it's the 10 years old kids life and I should let him live it without interference." even when it is clear it is an unfair fight.
        • thumb
          Jul 21 2011: id rather see food inc and supersize me sent to every american household free of charge than having goverment intervine on the supply of junk food.
        • thumb
          Jul 21 2011: no, it is not how it goes. no matter how many effort big companies put in advertising their junk food, it is simply well known that those are not healthy. the phony research results are usually employed not to convince the public, but to give politicians excuses not to act. and TV ads are not some hypnotic wizardry, anyone can ignore them.

          no, it is not like big corporations convinced people to eat junk. it is more like a cultural issue. a simple herd mentality. people eat what they parents and friends eat, and so on.

          your parallel with the kids stink exactly for that reason. nobody is forced to eat junk. you don't eat junk because the producer of junk food is smarter or stronger than you. it is a free choice. your example also stinks because the problem with the kids fighting is NOT that it is unfair. aggression is the problem there, and it is lacking in the junk food case.

          what we are observing here is the denial of responsibility. people want to shift responsibility from themselves to corporations. because it feels so sweet to continue to eat junk food, but blame someone else. nobody is willing to take the first step, and put some effort in changing the eating habits of their family. people don't want to make decisions and carry burdens. this is not acceptable.
        • Aug 9 2011: And where do food desert come into this assertion of yours Kristian? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_desert

          By controlling the supply and distribution and, in effect, creating virtual monopolies, food companies limit the access to healthy food for many poor people in industrialized nations, not to mention what they do in the 3rd world.

          When there are no options, how does choice enter into the equation?
      • thumb
        Jul 21 2011: Tim, 

        I havnt seen food Inc, but have seen supersize me, I'm guessing food Inc is more of the same.

        The issues with this idea is that supersize me has a lot of misinformation in it and can be taken the wrong way. It's been a while since I've seen the program but from memory I believe it was about a guy have McDonalds for every meal, 7days a week over a certain period of time, and if they asked him if he wanted the next size up he had to say yes, and eat it all. Correct me if I'm wrong.

        This idea is just silly, sure if you eat McDonalds for every meal, especially stuffing yourself full, its not going to be healthy. If you have a limited diet of anything it's not going to be healthy. If you just eat fruit and Nothing els its not going to be the best for you.

        The program gives the impression that eating McDonald or fast food ever day for ever meal is not health, which is correct it just limits the idea to fast food when it should be saying that eating too much of anything is not good for you and you should have a balanced diet.
      • thumb
        Jul 21 2011: You say that “TV ads are not some hypnotic wizardry, anyone can ignore them” i wouldn’t go as far as saying that they are wizardry but hypnotic, yeah maybe to some extent, and they defiantly aren’t easy to ignore. Think of how many catchy jingles to commercials you know, even though you haven’t been paying full attention to the add

        Of course big corporations convince you to eat junk food; to say that they don't is to say that there is no advertising for these foods, which simply is not true. If you made a product you would want to sell that product to people, and to do that you have to tell people they want it, they need it. I do agree with it also being a herd mentality as well.

        The example with the kid isn’t about aggression, the point is that it’s unfair, which it is. To some degree you do eat junk food because the producer is smarter and stronger, they are obviously stronger, as they are probably a big corporation, and smarter because it is there job to target you and they know how to make you buy things. They research every little detail on how to make you buy their product. A younger kid getting bullied by a much bigger and stronger kid is as unfair as a big junk food corporations target individuals to buy their product by any means legal to them.

        I don't see how controlling the source is a bad thing, stepping in and looking after the people when you see that someone isn’t playing fair or by the rules. Just like a parent looks after their child, they allow them to make their own decisions, but guide them and inform them when they may not be seeing clearly. You could say that people aren’t children and should be mature and grown up enough to make their own decisions, but that would be plain ignorant to the fact that this is not an equal world, and some people need a help in hand, and direction. It’s just not acceptable to tell everyone to harden up and just do it.
        • thumb
          Jul 21 2011: answer me one simple question that forks into two:

          do you personally buy any products not because you want it but because corporations convinced you with advertisement? do you buy products you don't need and don't want, because someone "hypnotized" you to do so?

          and it forks into two as:

          if not, why do you think that you are better than most? why do you think many people can't decide for themselves, but you can?

          if yes, why do you think that it is anyone else's fault and not yours? why don't you simply stop doing that, and buy useful and enjoyable products? how does this influence even works? you feel your hand reaching out for a chocolate bar, and you can't stop it? or you feel burning desire, and a voice in head?

          you are still trying to blame corporations for the faults of the people themselves. you still attempt to "look after" adult, self-reliant individuals. stop doing that, it damages personality, clouds reality and causes even deeper trouble.
        • Aug 9 2011: Yes Kristian, corporations spend 100's of millions a year in advertising because, gosh darn it, it just makes them feel good about themselves. They have no other reason whatsoever and are completely innocent.

          But some person without the education or knowledge to know that they are being lied to and fed what many scientists consider to be poison, they are completely responsible for the actions of themselves AND the corporations.

          I get it. The blinds have been lifted from my eyes. Alleluia. Praise Jeebus. Thank you lord. Now pass me a twinkie or 3.
      • thumb
        Jul 22 2011: Personally yes I do sometimes buy products that I do not need and sometimes didn't particular want. Have you ever walk into a shop and needed 1 bag of chips, but there is a sight saying buy 2 get one free, you don't really need the extra two bags but you think it's a good deal as you will be saving money in the long run and can use the other two bags later down the track. There for the company's marketing has succeeded in making you but things you didn't really need. The super markets strategically place items they want to sell more of on the shelves that are just below eye level, because research says that people's heads tend to sag a little and this is their direct line of sight. The waiting isle at the super market or petrol station are lined with chocolate and snacks, because when you sit there waiting looking at them there is a good chance you will just grab one.

        Here is one which is totally relevant and I have done it in the past, chocolate bars are usually $1.80 or so at the super market, so I will buy say 5 (one a day for work) 
        Sometimes they go on special for $1.00 so I buy 10 because I can save money in the long run, but I end up eating twice as much in the same week, I wouldn't of bought twice as many if they wernt cheap, the company's know this and market it in that way. 

        You can say that It was all my fault and I should of held off, and yeah you are right, I'm not blaming anyone els, but hey it's not a perfect world. The point is that if the temptation isn't there it helps a lot, so why not help people out a little and reduce the temptation. If there where no laws on speeding how many people would speed? This is totally relevant in the sense that the government has seen a potential harm and as well as informing the people of the danger they also limit the chance someone does it anyway by penalizing you.

        I would love if people could control them selves, be honest, righteous but unfortunately we are not there yet and need the help of a higher power.
        • thumb
          Jul 23 2011: so the situation is this: you can't resist to eat double amount of chocolate if it is cheap. so you plan to ban special prices to protect yourself. even if special prices has no such detrimental effect on me and on a lot of others. you want to take away special prices from me, to protect yourself. you want to take away that opportunity from the poorest, who can afford it only at special price. is this sounds okay? why don't you, instead, work on your own shortcomings?

          how about this proposal here: X is an awful driver, he cannot focus for more than one minute, often creates dangerous situations, caused multiple minor accidents already. but he can't resist taking the driver's seat, because it is so tempting, it is so easy to get around with a car. so X proposes to ban driving altogether. X wants a law that bans civilian (non-professional) driving. X would be much more relaxed, since he would not feel the temptation anymore, and would not put many people at risk with his careless driving. how about that proposal? why is it any worse or different than your proposal?
      • thumb
        Aug 1 2011: No where have I made a proposal that comes close to the scenario you have put forward. relating your scenario to the subject, would be to say that you should ban all junk food. I have no such proposal anywhere, plus you seem to be missing my point completely.

        The point is that it is difficult to live a healthy lifestyle, especially when you have big corporations target marketing you junk food, the proof is all around you, just look at all the obese people. 

        The only this I have proposed is that the government, or a strict watch dog come in to make sure big corporations are playing fair. Like I have said before, this already happens in a lot of areas, please read my last comment again and try to focus on the points about company's sly advertisement, and government seeing potential harm and making laws to protect, not looking for ammo to attack me on a personal level.

        You don't seem to be adding very much constructive thought or ideas to the debate we are having, but more taking examples I have made and twisting them to Imply that I personally can not control my eating habits, so am trying to blame corporations for it. These are only examples, I personally do not eat meat, or dairy as of last year and it is tough. I am also aware of the way things are marketed to people, so i do have compassion for people and understand that it can be hard to follow a cleaned diet and give up the junk. 


          
        • thumb
          Aug 1 2011: you are just reiterating your previous points without digesting what i'm trying to tell you. the very notion that marketing makes your task harder demonstrates the fact that you are indeed not in full control what you buy. and you plan to solve that problem by regulating the sellers. drop the unnecessary details, and focus on the main issue.

          1. do you think that you buy stuff you don't want and don't need *because* corporations convinced you by advertising?

          2. do you want to solve that problem with limiting how corporations can advertise their products?

          based on what you said here, both answers are true. all other details are irrelevant. calling companies "sly" and their practices "unfair" is just a dead weight on the conversation, aimed at clouding the otherwise crystal clean situation.
        • thumb
          Aug 2 2011: Unfortunately the government is essentially the root to a lot of these problems. Just about all of the junk food, and fast food we put into are bodies come from massive farm corporations. A vast majority of what these companies produce is corn. Not even the type of corn we can eat, but corn used to make sugars and all the artificial flavorings, as well as to feed all of the cattle, pig, and poultry that become our meat product. This is also a very inefficient process that would normally cost companies more that they can ever hope to gain. The government though subsidized this industry heavily, driving the price of all the products down. It is from this we get all of our dollar menu products, and cheap junk food.

          For one of my college classes I was required to read the book 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' it goes over the entire process in detail and is where I learned this. I highly recommend it.
        • Aug 9 2011: For me I have no desire to tax foods ( as such taxes are regressive and place a disproportionate burden on those least able to afford them and least able to avoid them) or to ban advertising. If someone wants to pay money to a TV station for the expressed purpose of lying their asses off, then let them have at it.

          However I am also for removing subsidies that support the artificially low prices on nutritionally void "food" resembling products and perhaps moving those subsidies (perhaps with a phase out) over to foods that are local, sustainable, and nutritious.

          Does anyone think these ideas have merit?
      • thumb
        Aug 3 2011: Who is in full control of what they buy?
        That is not my plan, as I do not intent do put it into action (today anyway). But yes it is my idea that I thought was worth spreading.
        “Do you think that you buy stuff you don't want and don't need *because* corporations convinced you by advertising?”
        Yes, well i more believe that corporation convinces you that you need them. You’re not just going to but something if you don’t think you need it. But if i think i need that breast implant for all the boys to like me, that TV the of a cinema so i can see it better, or that double coated chocolate bad because you think it will bring me more pleasure than the carrot. That yes I’m going to buy it, i dint need it yesterday, but after seeing that commercial and reading that magazine i need it now...

        “Do you want to solve that problem with limiting how corporations can advertise their products?”
        Yes, to some degree, i would do my research first, or better yet leave it up to the experts. I do not think it would solve the situation but i don’t see how it could make t worse. If we only saw advertisement of fresh fruit and vegetables and where told how delicious they where, don’t you think that that would have some kind of impact?

        You have your ideas and beliefs and i have mine i, i don’t think we are going to change ether point of view, as i feel the lack of respect from both sides. But thank you for being a part in the debate, and I’m sure it was interesting for onlookers 

        Jesse, i will look up that book one day, thanks.
      • Aug 3 2011: I agree with Krisztián Pintér, food companies should have NO restrictions put on them. It should be legal for them to add cocaine, heroine or any other addictive additive to their foods that they want. And they shouldn't be required to do anything so wishy washy as put their ingredients on a label. If the caveat can't emptor then too darned bad. It is up to the individual to self monitor no matter what. And if they can't or won't pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get off their addictions, then that is their problem.

        Do I need to put a sarcasm tag here?
        • thumb
          Aug 3 2011: no need for the tag, better delete the entire comment, because it lacks arguments or points
        • thumb
          Aug 3 2011: Nice one. You forgot to mention that, as the point that people go from being a kid to an accountable adult is a totally arbitrary -and possibly meaningless- age, the kids should be taking the responsibility for getting fat, not their parents and certainly not Macdonalds. Bloody kids eh?...
      • Aug 8 2011: I don't see why not. It's what food companies do everyday.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.