Essay 1: “Don’t Blame the Eater”

David Zinczenko explains in his article “Don’t Blame the Eater” how so many of the youth in America are obese. Fast food chains like McDonald’s advertise to kids more than adults and provide the most unhealthy options to them. Zinczenko states “Fast-food companies are marketing to children a product with proven health hazards and no warning labels” and the fast-food chains hold no responsibility for the poor health of America’s children (Zinczenko 464). The convince of fast food makes it easier to get a fast meal versus a healthy alternative which is why so many of America’s youth is unhealthy. A lot of people, kids especially, would rather go to a fast food place and receive food fast over going to a grocery store to buy fresh ingredients and actually having to make a meal. Zinczenko also struggled with eating out as as kid and he stated that “lunch and dinner, for me, was a daily choice between McDonald’s, Taco Bell, KFC, or Pizza Hut” (Zinczenko 462). Zinczenko points out that fast-food chains lack the information on nutrition labels and calorie information on food and it can be very misleading. He says that fast-food places are misleading by the fact that “complicating the lack of alternatives is the lack of information about what, exactly, are consumers – particularly teenagers- supposed to find alternatives?” (Zinczenko 463). He is saying that these fast food places need to help the consumers by putting this information on food because it will help people make better eating choices. Instead of “blaming the eater” for being unhealthy fast food places need to take responsibility by putting out nutrition information so people are more aware of what they are putting in their bodies. “There are no calorie information charts on fast-food packaging the way there are in grocery stores” (Zinzinceko 463). I agree with Zinczenko because nutrition labels at fast food places are very misleading sometimes and they need to be easier to read and more available to the consumer for their own health and well-being.
As a kid in America you are marketed to everyday from toys, drinks, food, amusement parks, and clothing. The fast food industry in particular markets to kids and teenagers the most because they offer cheap and convenient food to them. “Then as now, these were the only available options for an American kid to get an affordable meal” (Zinczenko 462-463). A burger meal with fries and a soda is less than $5 at most places and if it comes with a toy it also appeals more to the younger generation. Kids and teenagers lack of understanding of nutritional facts is also another big factor in why so many of our youth are obese in America. They do not think about their daily calorie intake, sugars, fats, carbs, sodium or any other nutritional facts for that matter, they are too busy being kids! But, when the kids go out to fast food places they are usually getting way beyond their calorie intake for the day without even knowing it. Unfortunately they will not live that long either if they keep up their unhealthy habits because it will cause so many health problems for them down the line. The lack of parental supervision is also another factor in why kids are obese. A lot of parents give their kids money to buy a snack or meal after school and instead of teaching them to go to the grocery store to buy something healthy the kids usually pick the easier faster unhealthy option. The parents also need to help their kids make better choices by educating them on healthier options. I don’t feel like some of these parents purposely try to make their kids unhealthy, but the lack of supervision and the lack of helping them make good choices is not helping these kids at all. Kids also learn from their own parents bad habits. Instead of going out to a fast food place for dinner more parents need to try to make home cooked meals and add more veggies, fruits, and lean protein into their kids diets. Sometimes it is hard for parents when they work a lot and have little time to prepare a meal and by the end of the day parents are usually too tired to cook so they give in to convince of hot and ready fast-food. But, in the long run it would be a lot cheaper and even more healthy for the kids and the parents if they ate at home. Education on proper nutrition also needs to be addressed because a lot of kids and teenagers do not know how to make healthy choices on their own. Without being educated kids these days do not know any better then to choose fast food over something healthy and parents and schools are to blame. If kids are not taught from a young age to try to always choose healthy options, if they can, they are just left with always choosing the unhealthy alternative which is fast food. Parents need to be examples and help their kids by packing them healthy lunches and snacks for school and making healthy meals at home. Schools also need to start teaching nutrition at a younger age and not waiting until they are in high school to teach them properly because by that time it is too late for some kids. Adults and teachers need to lead they way on educating their children and students because they are setting them up for failure by not being examples and teaching them how to be healthy. Our youth is obese because they have not been guided in the right direction and instead of blaming the kids for being unhealthy parents and teachers need to take a step back and see that it is their fault for not educating them.
Overall this article is an eye opener on how very uneducated our youth is on health and nutrition. It is really sad that so many kids and teenagers are obese and how they may be obese for the rest of their lives if they don’t get the education and help from parents and educators that they really need. It can be changed though if parents and teachers come together to help the kids make better eating choices. They can start by teaching them proper nutrition, healthy cooking classes, more diverse physical education classes, adding more after school programs and more diverse sports teams to get kids excited to be fit. All these things can help our kids fight back obesity, but if these kids don’t get the the proper education they need they will keep making unhealthy choices and America will keep producing unhealthy and uneducated kids. Our communities, schools, parents, and our government need to come together to help our kids because they are our future.

Works Cited
Zinczenko, David. They Say / I Say with Readings: The Moves That Matter in Academic             Writing 3rd Edition; Don’t Blame The Eater. W. W. Norton & Company Inc., 2014;
New York Times, 2002.