Getting Your Overweight Children to not Eat Junk Food

By: Kalvin C. Chinyere, M.D.

The number of overweight children is at an all time high and the numbers are increasing. Strategies to reverse this disturbing trend must be created and put into action. One strategy would be to establish an age requirement for the purchase of junk foods and fast foods.

Preventable Deaths

Smoking and obesity are the two leading causes of preventable diseases in the United States. Smoking is the number one cause. However, obesity is a very close second.

Smoking related diseases include:


  • Cancers such as lung, esophagus, mouth, stomach, larynx, pancreas, pharynx, kidney, cervical, and bladder

  • Cardiovascular Diseases such as Coronary Artery Disease and Stroke

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases such as Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema


Obesity related diseases include:

* Cardiovascular Diseases such as Coronary Artery Disease and Stroke
* Type 2 Diabetes
* The Metabolic Syndrome
* Cancers such as colon, breast, endometrium, kidney, esophagus, and gallbladder
* High Blood Pressure
* Gall Bladder Disease
* Osteoarthritis
* Sleep Apnea
* Asthma

So what is the difference between smoking and obesity? Children are not allowed to purchase cigarettes, but they are allowed to purchase the foods that lead to obesity.

Age Requirement

The government should establish a fast food age requirement similar to the age requirement that was established for smoking many years ago. This age requirement would prohibit the purchase of certain foods for people under the age of eighteen.

The prohibited foods would be foods with:

* High calories per serving
* High percentage of saturated fats
* High percentage of trans fats
* High percentage of sugars
* High percentage of high fructose corn syrup

Setting up this age requirements would have many benefits including:


  • Deterring children from eating junk foods and fast foods. If they cannot purchase the foods they cannot eat the foods.

  • Educating children about which foods are good for them and which ones are not. They will learn that the foods they cannot buy are not good for them and the ones they can buy are.

  • Educating their parents about which foods are good for them and which ones are not.

  • Forcing the schools to remove unhealthy foods from their cafeterias and vending machines.

  • Forcing the food manufacturers to create healthier options for children in order to maintain their profits.

  • Decreasing the weight and waist size of adults and children.


Children should be allowed to eat junk foods and fast foods occasionally in moderation. However, this should only occur under the watchful eyes of an adult. Establishing an age requirement would help in this process.

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