16 March 2011
Fast Food and Obesity
Obesity is an excess proportion of total body fat. A person is considered obese when his or her weight is 20% or more above normal weight. What causes obesity is when a person consumes more calories than he or she burns. For many people this boils down to eating too much and exercising too little. On the other hand, there are many factors that play a role in obesity such as age, gender, genetics, physical activity, psychological factors and even medications. For years, people have felt that fast food chains are to blame for obesity because they do not alert their customers to the hazardously high calorie and fat content of the food they offer. Needless to say obesity is directly linked to a customer’s choice to spend his or her money on fast food.
Fast food is not to blame for obesity for various reasons. According to Fast Food, researchers claim “We now eat to relive our stress, to alleviate our boredom, or simply make ourselves feel better” (18). Moreover Fast Food Franchises donot obligate people to buy from them. People choose to grab bad eating habits all by themselves. So does being bored and feeling sad mean you have to eat a cheese burger or get an ice cream bar? The only thing humans need is self control. If a person is bored they can go do exercise, and if they are sad and feel like eating there stress away they can eat fruits instead ice cream.
Nonetheless there is always other options on what you can eat other than fast food. Over the past forty years America has transformed from a society where most people prepare their own meals from scratch to one where most meals are either prepackaged or eaten outside of home (Fast Food 20). One of the problems with eating prepackaged food is that it contains more calories because it is served in larger portions. This is a reason why the cause of obesity has increased in America. Not only because most Americans are eating an oversized amount of food. But also because they are not receiving the nutrition they need. Needless to say, that blaming the food industry for serving larger portion sizes is to ignore the fact that Americans are doing it by free will, when they have other alternatives such as preparing their own meals at home.
Further going, a generation ago most Americans limited their daily food consumption to three meals and if they did eat between meals it was likely to be a piece of fruit or something easily consumed. According to Cutler a Harvard economist “Today the average adult eats the equivalent of four meals a day and children eat close to five, much more than in 1970” (Fast food 21). In other words Americans are snacking more then what they should. Of course snacking itself does not necessarily lead to weight gain, depending on what is eaten. Even McDonalds has offered apple slices as a healthy way to snack between the day. However people will rather buy there chocolate chip cookies.
Meanwhile lawsuits are being placed against Fast Food restaurants as a way to combat obesity. Todd G. Buchholz an economic advisor in the George H.W. Bush administration argues that “Consumers, not the food industry , are responsible for obesity” (Obesity 133). If someone who is a healthy eater and exercises daily was to eat a burger once a month, it wouldn’t harm them. Fast Food chains were made for those people who know how to balance a healthy life with a treat once in a while to satisfy themselves. Not for people who know its not a healthy choice of food but choose to eat their like if it was. However it is acknowledged that fast food does carry a part of the blame for obesity. Even the healthy choices at fast food restaurants are unhealthy. McDonalds wants its customers to associate the idea of a healthy lifestyle with its brand (Obesity 29). Needless to say, McDonalds number one motivation is to keep its customers addicted to its products, and if lettuce covered with...