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America is a fat nation in which almost 2/3rds of all Americans are overweight. This national weight problem is causing a variety of severe health problems in both adults and children. For example, four percent of adolescents now have Type II diabetes (which typically never effects youths).
Among the reasons for this problem are the decline of the family dinner, the popularity of computers/videogames, increased technology (reducing movement), increased food processing that adds sugar (sugar is the number one food additive which is now included in foods such as bread, lunchmeat, canned vegetables, and mayonnaise), and consumers eating out more. Whatever the reason, Americans are now eating 500 more calories a day now than they were back in 1984.
Several actions of marketers are contributing to this problem. First, many fast food restaurants now offer super-size portions. McDonald's original meal of a 12 ounce Coke, small fries and a hamburger provided 590 calories while their supersize Extra Value Meal of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, supersize fries and drink is a 1,550 calories. Restaurants have found that its more profitable to make larger portions. By bundling meals, restaurants sell more and consumers feel they are getting a greater value. Second, junk food is now sold everywhere, particularly in schools. Third, food companies spend tremendous amounts on advertising, $1.54 billion annually promoting prepared, processed, and convenience foods.
Discuss some of the ethical issues brought up by this article. How about the consumer's responsibility?
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