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Junk Food

One factor that contributes to prolonging life and opening up the possibility of living to 120 years of age is to maintain a healthy diet and ensure that the notion of pleasure is associated as much with the palate as with the senses of smell, touch, and sight.

Taking pleasure in eating is not necessarily related to great feasts of over-elaborate preparation. Nor is a healthy diet defined by strict prohibitions and boring meals. The criteria surrounding the definition of “tasty” changes according to different cultures and regions of the world, thus demonstrating that this is principally influenced by habits.

Modifying these habits in our diet, learning to select products that are both healthy and pleasantly flavored, can help to prevent different illnesses, such as arteriosclerosis and hypertension, amongst others.

Risk associated with poor diet, excesses and deficiencies, the effects of which range from malnutrition to obesity and other ailments. One of the habits that particularly lead to obesity is the consumption of large quantities of so-called “junk food”, such as hamburgers, doughnuts, ice cream, sodas and French fries. Obesity is a common problem in developed countries but organizations such as the Pan-American Health Organization warn that there is also an increase in Third World Countries as a consequence of unbalanced diets caused by poverty. There, the consumption of junk food is being globalized as are illnesses.

All these matters should be learnt from an early age in the family and educational environment. It is a priority to give importance to understanding which foodstuffs we really need, in order to help us extend the length and improve the quality of our lives. That is the reason for living for 120 years.

Taken from Granma International (Havana June 27, 2004)

From the text answer the following questions:

1. What is one of the factors that contribute to prolong life?

2. What other senses are associated as much as the palate with the notion of pleasure?

3. Is a healthy diet defined by strict prohibitions and boring meals?

4. Does the criteria of tasty surrounding the definition of “tasty” change according to different cultures? Why do you think so?

5. What can help to prevent many different illnesses? Mention examples of these illnesses.

6. What is one particular habit that leads to obesity?

7. What is junk food according to what you read?

8. Find in the text examples of junk food. Mention some others that, from your point of view, can be also considered as junk food.

9. Is obesity a common problem in developed countries? What happens in Third World countries?

10. Is the consumption of junk food being globalized?

11.Should these aspects related to a healthy diet be learnt from an early age in the family and in the educational environment? What’s your opinion about it?

12. In your case, how often do you eat this kind of food?

13.Would you eat something different if you had other choices in your meals?

Will you change your diet from now on? What makes you think this way?

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