Rheem Food Options Require Warning Labels

Kevork Tchakmakjian, Staff Writer

Nation’s Giant Hamburgers, Taco Bell, and Subway are well known stops for Moraga teens who frequent the Rheem shopping center. Unfortunately, these easily accessible and relatively cheap fast-food options are detrimental to student health.

To combat the danger the products at these local establishments present, conspicuous warning labels need to be included on their wrapping paper and boxes.

The numbers don’t lie. Fast food can be a major contributor to the development of Type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular conditions, and even death. With all of these risks, fast food is no longer just “food” –it’s a danger to public health– and warning labels should be placed on the packaging just as they are on other unhealthy products like cigarettes and alcohol.

A 2010 study from the University of South Australia published from the European Journal of Epidemiology said that for each 10% increase in the density of fast food restaurants in a region, people are 1.39 times more likely to die from a cardiovascular condition. Furthermore, the overall U.S. obesity rate has more than doubled since 1980, with more than two-thirds of adults and about one-fifth of all children now overweight or obese.

These facts are alarming, but worse is that these foods can change brain chemistry. According to Andrew Weil, M.D. “fats found in commercially produced baked goods and fast foods had up to a 48 percent increase in the risk of depression compared to participants who didn’t eat these foods.”

This addiction can be curbed with the most effective solution: education.

Fast food negatively impacts people physically and mentally, yet many consumers are not aware of the danger. Warning labels are an effective way to educate these unsuspecting customers. We must combat an industry that is not serving the health of Campolindo students and all Americans and must remain more informed of the nutritional content of processed foods as consumers and growing teens.