LETTERS: Junk food and obesity; ‘Jungle’ conditions persist in industry

Junk food and obesity

I am a former high school student who has had a concern about my community’s health problems caused by all the unhealthy foods that we have fast access to.

It has been proven that eating fast food could cause horrible effects. This explains why there are high obesity rates in America.

In my three years of high school, I’ve noticed that the amount of obesity between the students I attend school with has increased ever since fast-food restaurants have been added near our school. The food these restaurants have to offer leads to obesity and bad health issues in the human body.

I decided to do some research myself, and I found that fast-food restaurants use low-quality materials. Companies put in substances that attract young people.

Furthermore, my city of McAllen is one of the cities with the highest rates of obesity in Texas.

Since we are so close to the border and we come from the Mexican culture, tacos are very common to us and are now at every corner, open 24/7. Eating this type of food can only bring the feeling of fatty substances building up in our bodies.

I’m really concerned about the health status of people in our community who are clueless of what this junk food can do to them. I have family members who deal with obesity and are silently getting killed by the junk they consume.

I hope your newspaper can raise some awareness to not only my concern but to many in my community. I hope the rate of obesity can be reduced with the help of this letter.

Ximena Ayala


‘Jungle’ conditions persist in industry

The book “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair was meant to focus on immigrants facing wage gaps that ever last for decades, immigrants being more likely to get more dangerous jobs and undocumented immigrants often being victimized by other employees or even their bosses. In other words, Sinclair said he was aiming to describe immigrant workers’ experience.

People who read the book didn’t focus on the immigrants as much as they focused on the sanitation of their meat. The book did repeatedly show dangerous work content, alcoholism, violence and systemic corruption as well as a family in poverty, yet almost every aspect of society comes and attacks them in any way, shape or form.

For example, Ona, the wife of Jurgis, got raped by her boss, repeatedly, and kept it a secret in order to keep her job and provide for her family. Once Jurgis found out he went to beat up the boss, but unfortunately he got thrown in jail because the boss lied, saying he was the innocent man instead of Jurgis.

It’s not just immigrants who also go through this; however, because they were a poor family no one believed them.

Immigrants still make up much of the Midwestern meat packing industry work force; that’s how little has changed since Sinclair published his book. Those jobs are still dangerous and poorly paid, with very little security for them.

As Sinclair said after seeing everyone only focus on their food, “I aimed at the public’s heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach.”

Christopher De La Torre


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