The Relationship between Fast Food and Obesity
Growing up in a small town in Jamaica, there were no such thing as fast food around every possible corner as opposed to here in America, fast food restaurants are everywhere. This is a typical reason why most American citizens, especially young people are overweight and almost obese. Don’t get me wrong, fast food is delicious for the most part, cheap and quick, which benefits a typical American way of eating that is always on the go. However, if it becomes a daily routine, it becomes a problem that can be very detrimental to the body. Obesity is one of the leading cause of death in America and is the cause of other diseases. America needs to be great again by eating fresh healthy prepared home-cooked meals and exercise more on a regular basis.
It has been shown that fast food restaurants have an impact on our youths today and it is getting worse as the day go by. Statistically, one in every five children or young adult is obese in America. If the children are the future, then what does this mean?. Students today are much more heavier than students back then and school plays an important role in that matter. Schools does not normally have healthy options or there is a considerable amount of fast food restaurants near the schools.
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According to one of the articles I read, it stated that ” We found that students in California were heavier and more likely to be overweight or obese if their school was located within one half mile of a fast-food restaurant (Davis, Carpenter 2009).” A solution to this can be somewhat fixed if the fast food chains weren’t so close to the school and perhaps, the fast food franchise that they do have close enough should be healthy choices, such as Subway.
Fast food can harm an individual if consumed on a daily basis with no physical activity. It is essential to reduce the intake of unhealthy fast food and replace it with healthier choices such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. According to a study I read, it was noted, “In our study, ninety percent of students were having fast food in their diet, but only 22.45% and 9.52% were found to be pre obese and obese respectively. On the same side, more frequency of fast food in a week and less physical exercise were significantly related to high BMI. So, in conclusion, there is a significant relationship between BMI and fast food consumption, along with less physical activity and intake of soft drinks (Shah, Trushna 2014).”
It has been known that fast food is difficult at times to ignore, especially when you drive by and the smell hits you in the face. It is tempting to also go for the most unhealthiest choices as well. For example, a person will order a double bacon cheese burger with a large milkshake from McDonald’s and two apple pies on the side. It’s becoming such a norm, and it’s sad to say that its impacting family meal times because no one wants to sit and wait until breakfast, lunch or dinner is ready anymore. Fast food is typically quick and inexpensive today and it does not require a lot.
Americans are prone to always ending up at a fast food franchise than to cook a nice healthy meal at home. Therefore when children grow up, they do the same because they don’t know any better. It’s surprising to see how lengthy the drive thru lines are at times, especially at McDonalds. Even on holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, lines are surprisingly long.
According to the United States Department Of Agriculture food and surveys of Americans, It stated “Just as obesity rates continue to trend upward, so has in general the number of meals eaten away from home, growing from twenty percent in the late 1970s to more than thirty percent today. It also stated that in particular, twenty five percent of United States, four to eight year olds on a typical day will eat fast food(Wood, Marcia 2009).”
According to WebMD, obesity is defined as having a body mass index of thirty or higher, which can lead to various health conditions such heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breathing problems, some cancers, high blood pressure etc. Is it really worth it in the end to have all these health issues, because most of them have no cure whatsoever. One might not think of the long term and what can happen, they only think of the short term which is why consumers believe it’s okay for the time being.
Obesity normally happens to children or an individual that is in the low income class, being that fast food so inexpensive. Medium income households eat less fast food because they have the money to buy healthier foods which is more expensive. Fast food therefore targets the poor because they have no other choice but to eat the cheap junk food that they sell for nothing at fast food franchises.
For example, you can go to Wendy’s and buy a four for four meal which includes a small fry, chicken nuggets, a soda of choice and a variety of unhealthy sandwiches. However, if you decided to be healthy for a day and buy a salad, that will cost way more than four dollars, possible double the amount. This is the reason why a person will be discourage in eating healthy, especially if you don’t have a lot of money.
Food environments influence the types of food available for consumption, which can affect your dietary intake. According to an article I read, it stated “residents with a greater concentration of fast food establishments around them have a higher possibility of being obese than residents with fewer fast food restaurants around them(Ledoux, Timothy 2017).” It has been proven to society that fast food franchises is a leading cause of obesity and it just so happened to be everywhere, especially near a workplace, a school or your home.
A click away or a phone call away and bam, there’s food at your door. How convenient is that? Why should a person take time out of their day to buy and prepare a meal when there is a variety of foods all over that you can get in a matter of two minutes? This is the world we live in today and this is the way most people think ninety percent of the time.
Fast food has become a massive part of societies lifestyle, especially in America. It has shown that too much fast food can lead to obesity. The problem is that there is a lack of education about obesity to the public and what the risk factors are. Is fast food franchise to be blamed for individuals becoming overweight or is it just laziness? Many will argue that it can be a little of both. Fast food will lead you to a place that is hard to return from.
The fact that everywhere you go, there is an advertisement of a fast food franchise is the reason why Americans are hooked to these unhealthy habits, and most of the time it’s a double or triple stack bacon and cheese burger with fries and a milkshake. Commercials for example, most of the time they advertise on food and how good it taste so it gets to the point that an individual is tempted to try it, especially when your favorite celebrity is promoting it and you see it over and over.
It can be very challenging at times because social media is taking over and many percent of the time when you log on to your social media account, the first thing that pops up is the most delicious, mouthwatering, appealing and unhealthiest sandwich or pizza there is. According to an article I read, it stated that “social and retail food environment influence fast food consumption and obesity within a diverse study population of residents(Laxy, Michael 2015).”
According to an article I read, it stated “Our results show that their was a signi?¬?cant association between proximity and BMI persisted for children living within short distances of a fast food restaurant.” If only the distance near any school for young children was not in sight. That would probably decrease the obesity rate a little. It also stated “Since the 1970s, the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled among American children ages six to eleven, and more than tripled among American adolescents. Recent estimates suggest that now more than sixteen percent of US children and adolescents are obese(Mellor, Jennifer).”
A lot of the fast food that an individual consume nowadays contain a high intake of saturated fat, calories, cholesterol, sodium, and energy which is a contributing factor to the growing epidemic of obesity in society. Fast food restaurants will promote their food with misleading health claims and to top it off, they know that children likes toys so they will offer toys as an incentive. For example, at McDonalds, they have a kids menu that involves toys as the incentive so parents will buy it for their children.
Another strategy that fast food restaurants use is they offer free delivery or they will have combo meals which makes it seems irresistible because it’s a lot of food with a side of drink and dessert for a small amount of money. Another strategy they have is the coupons, such as buy one chicken sandwich, get one free or buy one large fry and the bacon cheese burger is free. Now how can one say no to that?
The negative effects of fast food franchises significantly overshadow the benefits. The chemicals that they use on their products to keep them lasting for a period of time is toxic to the human body which can lead to various health problems. They issue is that, even though Americans know these things, they still continue to consume it. The problem is that fast food restaurants are very addictive. Once its consumed, you keep on going back for more because it’s so yummy and filling.
It’s also unfortunate that once a person becomes hungry, the first thing he or she thinks about is McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Sonic, Wendy’s, White Castle, Chinese food, Popeyes, KFC, Wings and Ting’s, Chipotle, Checkers, Dominoes, Papa Johns, Tropical Jerk, Charley’s, Five Guys, and the list goes on and on. An average person will not think of making something at home because they are thinking of the time it is going to take them to prep and cook the meal. Therefore, by the time they are finished, the children are probably sleeping or the caregivers lost their appetite.
According to an article I read, it stated that “childhood obesity is a major public health problem that has both individual and environmental causes(Hung-Hao Chang 2010).” It also stated that there is a relationship between soft drinks and obesity. The sugar content in soft drinks is high, which can lead to diabetes or obesity.
One thing that a lot of consumers don’t realize is the amount sugar they are consuming on a daily basis. Also, McDonalds have a deal that has been going on for a while now with any size drink for a dollar and most of the consumers get the biggest size most of the time, why? because it’s only a dollar. those kind of drinks are filled with high fructose corn syrup, also known as glucose fructose. It is a sweetener made from cornstarch that leads to high levels of obesity and a lot of health problems.
To conclude, it has been stated in multiple Scholarly Peer Reviewed Journals that there is a relationship between fast food and obesity. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index of thirty or higher, which can lead to various health conditions such heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breathing problems, some cancers, high blood pressure etc. It is very hard to say if there will ever be a decrease in the obesity rates in society because it has gotten so back that there is no turning back. Studies have shown that fast food can be as addictive as drugs so where do we go from here? Changes are needed and it’s okay to say that it should start with the parents.