Fast Food

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Kaitlyn Toops October 5, 2010
ENG 151 – Essay 2 Eric Earnhardt “Fast Food Linked to Obesity: An Annotated Bibliography”
A large controversy in the field of health and food today is the effects that fast food and industrialized food have on our wellness. The convenience of obtaining food has become the main objective in society, but is it taking a toll on our health? Fast food restaurants such as (but not limited to) McDonald’s and Burger King are a major aspect to how a lot of our generation fills their stomach. Many researchers have been trying to link the increase in obesity to the consumption of industrialized food within the past few decades, but some argue that lack of physical activity has a part in the incline of overweight Americans as well. To get a complete analysis of exactly how our health is being affected by fast food industries, I am researching the following questions: Why is fast food so popular? How does fast food consumption affect adolescent obesity? What health risks are related to fast food consumption? What are other factors that could possibly contribute to the obesity problem? And should fast food be completely omitted from a healthy diet? These questions will be helpful to determine healthy lifestyle choices for families who do not know which way to go when dealing with the issue of industrialized food.

Conducting research was a necessity before I could form an opinion about the fast food industry. During a two week period in October 2010, I examined six different sources. These sources include four academic journal articles, one book, and one magazine article. The magazine article by Clare Ulrich hinted on almost all of my questions but did not go into specific detail about each one. One academic journal by Stender, Dyerberg, and Astrup was not very helpful in answering my preliminary questions, but had me posing another question about the ingredients that make fast food so unhealthy. The academic journal article written by Raymond Gozzi Jr. answered some of my questions about why Americans keep going back to their favorite fast food restaurants. An article from the book Food and an academic journal article by Nestle and Young were very helpful in expressing different factors that could be affecting obesity rates. Glassner, Barry. “Environmental Factors and Genetics Are the Source of Obesity.” Food. Ed. Jan Grover. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2008. 158-165. Print.

Barry Glassner, a sociology professor at the University of Southern California, discusses his beliefs that obesity is not linked to food consumption in his academic journal article Environmental Factors and Genetics Are the Source of Obesity. Glassner suggests that other factors such as genetics, stress and inactivity are responsible for the obesity epidemic among Americans. The author mentions that there are so many diet fads because no one knows exactly what foods make a person gain weight or if any foods do at all. Glassner includes in his article that genes are the main reason for overweight people. He says that natural selection and natural resistance to obesity are the main factors to weight gain. Then the author links economic stress to the reason Americans are now more overweight. The article says that stress is a major factor to eating habits and since the economy is doing poorly right now, Americans are over eating to aliviate the stress and not staying active due to long work hours. Glassner claims that most fast food bashers try to convince the public that there is a direct link to obesity and fast food consumption, but provide no real evidence to support their thesis. This article helped answer my research questions about other factors that could affect the incline in obesity.

Gozzi Jr., Raymond. "The Fast Food Franchise as Metaphor." A Review of General Semantics 53.3 (1996): 322-325....
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