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McDonalds, Coca-Cola and childhood obesity

McDonalds, Coca-Cola and childhood obesity

By Pilar Galindo

Fresh and home-cooked foods are increasingly being replaced by industrial, pre-cooked foods with preservatives and additives. Skipping breakfast, not eating fruits and vegetables every day, drinking soda instead of water, and eating sweets and junk food all damage health and increase obesity.

With McDonalds and Coca-cola childhood obesity grows

A can of Coca-Cola or other soft drinks, such as sports drinks, contains 35 grams of sugar, alone exceeds the minimum dose and does not provide any type of nutrients. These calories devoid of nutrients and loaded with refined sugar that we eat with industrial foods are the main cause of obesity, which grows like an epidemic, in modern societies.


Obesity has reached the dimensions of a global epidemic. One thousand seven hundred million people are at high risk of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, related to excess weight [1] . In the European Union, during the 1990s, 279,000 deaths of people over 25 years of age (7.7% of the total) were attributable to excess weight.

In Spain, 14.5% of the adult population is obese and 38.5% is overweight [2] . Among the child and youth population (from 2 to 24 years old) the percentages are, respectively, 13.9% and 26.3%. The obesity rate of children between 6 and 12 years old (16.1%) is one of the highest in Europe, it has tripled in just 10 years and exceeds obesity in adults. According to the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization (WHO), overweight and obesity suffered by minors are increasingly linked to type 2 diabetes, until recently considered adult diabetes because it requires, for its onset, , from prolonged excess weight.

The growth of obesity and its derived diseases has to do with a sedentary lifestyle but, above all, with bad eating habits. These habits produce obesity not only due to overeating, but also due to excess meat, fat, salt and sugar, to the detriment of bread, fish, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Fresh and home-cooked foods are increasingly being replaced by industrial, pre-cooked foods with preservatives and additives. Skipping breakfast, not having fruits and vegetables daily, drinking soda instead of water, and eating sweets and junk food [3] , damages health and increases obesity.

WHO recommends that, in a 2000 calorie diet (for an adult), the proportion of sugar should not exceed 30-50 grams per day. However, it does not tell the population that a can of Coca-Cola or other soft drinks, such as sports drinks, contains 35 grams of sugar, alone exceeds the minimum dose and does not provide any type of nutrients. These calories devoid of nutrients and loaded with refined sugar that we eat with industrial foods are the main cause of obesity, which grows like an epidemic, in modern societies. The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned of the risk of consuming sugary drinks. The body metabolizes up to 100 grams of sugar in the liver and 200 grams in the muscles. The rest turns into fat. A study of the diet of the school population in the USA showed that a daily can of sugary drink increased the risk of childhood obesity by 60%. The increase in fat cells is difficult to combat at that age because the caloric restriction necessary to eliminate these cells could affect their development. 30% of obese children end up being obese adults.

Children, adolescents and young people are the primary target of advertising pressures [4] of junk food multinationals. This pressure degrades your eating habits into a lifelong learning stage. McDonalds and Coca-Cola have been attacking the culture and food sovereignty of peoples for more than 50 years to impose their junk food and drink. So far no one has forced these companies to report the dangers that their products pose to health. On the contrary, with the number of establishments and the sales of these multinationals, obesity and diabetes in our children also grow, as well as cardiovascular diseases in the later stages of their lives.

In 2005 the government presented the NAOS Strategy [5] as a development of the WHO recommendations [6] To combat this epidemic, they pointed out the importance of preventing harmful eating habits at the earliest ages, using the measures that each country deems most appropriate. But this policy is not aware of the relationship, sufficiently demonstrated, between obesity and the consumption of the products of these multinationals. On the contrary, it expressly denies this responsibility: “it is important to highlight that sedentary lifestyle and energy expenditure deficit, caused by the new behavior patterns and habits of our modern society, play a main role in increasing obesity and overweight and the Spanish food and beverage industry, or specific food products or their advertising, cannot be held responsible for this problem ”.


The Government uses the NAOS Strategy to protect the interests of companies responsible for the growth of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It does not evaluate the damage that the expansion of junk food and drink produces among the population, particularly in children and adolescents. It does not warn about the risks of the continuity of this consumption model. It does not promote awareness of the need not to consume these products. It does not prohibit its sale in schools, as requested by the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity and the Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition. It does not take any of these measures, aimed at the core of the problem, because that would pit it against the multinationals. The NAOS Strategy is a mock policy in defense of food security so that everything remains the same. It encourages “Voluntary Codes of Good Conduct” for food companies that only serve to smooth out the most aggressive aspects of advertising directed at children under 12 years of age. It also establishes Agreements with the multinationals of junk food so that they can wash their image, showing them as benefactors of the most disadvantaged and through campaigns that encourage sports. In these campaigns, multinationals remind us, cynically, of the benefits of a healthy diet, at the same time that they hide from us the damage that their products cause to our health.

Notes:
[1
]
Source: International Obesity Task Force: International Obesity Task Force

[2
]
Obesity is considered for an adult when the body mass index (BMI) is equal to or greater than 30. The BMI is the quotient between weight (in kg) and the square of height (in meters). It is considered overweight, for an adult, when the BMI is equal to or greater than 25. Source: Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity.

[3
]
Junk food is the set of foods high in sugar and fat and low cost that are sold in fast food establishments.

[4
]
Both adolescents and young people, as well as social sectors with low purchasing power are more vulnerable to the association between advertising pressure and the low price of junk food

[5
]
NAOS: Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention

[6
]
See WHO. "World Health Report 2002: Reducing risks and promoting healthy lives."

* Pilar Galindo, Self-managed Konsumo Group (GAK) of CAES -


Video: New Coke commercial addresses obesity crisis (May 2021).