Fast Food and Obesity in America

Topics: Fast Food Nation, Super Size Me, Nutrition Pages: 6 (1661 words) Published: March 6, 2015
For several years, people have attributed rising fast-food consumption as the major factor causing rapid increases of obesity in America. According to the article Fast Food: Is it the Enemy by Registered Dietitian Sarah Muntel (2012), “Since 1970, the amount of fast food restaurants in business doubled, which equates to about 300,000 establishments in the United States. Coincidentally, 33.8 percent of the U.S. population is affected by obesity and 19 percent of children and adolescents are also affected” (p. 1). In this research essay, I will attempt to establish a connection between fast-food and the growing rate of obesity in America. Fast-food is now served at restaurants and public establishments such as Zoos, Airports, and Stadiums, and in ways, it has infiltrated the entire nation by way of heavy advertising and economic expansion. Fundamental changes have caused gigantic fast-food corporations to make huge profits by serving artificially-rendered food at reduced prices, which in return has attracted Americans to high-calorie meals that fatten them up. The fast-food industry offers a quick and affordable alternative for starving Americans looking for a simple solution, and has since then developed into a landmark system for supply and demand. Sarah Muntel also notes in her article Fast Food: Is it the Enemy (2012); “Most Americans are overscheduled and overcommitted and do not make time to plan or prepare meals. However, you can always find a fast food restaurant every time you turn the corner. Now you can choose from greasy burgers, crunchy tacos or a sugary drink at most intersections. Quick and easy foods are also cheap, which appeals to so many individuals. You can order dollar cheeseburgers, dollar sodas and supersize items for just pennies. People see a value in cheap food and get it with fast food and claim it is cheaper to eat at a restaurant than prepare a meal at home” (p. 34). Fast food has provided people with a quick and efficient way to fill the empty stomach. It’s now simple to pick up on the way home from work, and treat the kids to a milkshake after a busy day since fast-food provides a cheap and time efficient alternative for starving families at anywhere and at anytime. Unfortunately, people do not know about the consequences of fast-food and are unaware that the extra calories in their meals fatten them up. They also forget the recommendation to eat a low sodium diet, which in return causes their blood pressure to rise. According to the article Obesity and Fast Food by Dr. Ananya Mandal (2014), “Obesity is linked to several long term health conditions, premature death and illness including diabetes, as well as heart and liver disease. Studies have shown that over the past four decades, consumption of food eaten at food chains has risen alarmingly. It is also well known that eating out may lead to excess calorie intake and increases the risk of obesity because of large portion sizes and increased energy density of foods” (p. 1). Obesity has plenty of attributes that could both ruin and end lives, and most of which can be linked to the constant promotion of fast-food and the artificially rendered ingredients it’s made out of. In 2001, Eric Schlosser published the book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of all the All-American Meals (2001), which explores the values that fast-food embodies, and the world it has made. Schlosser examines radical adjustments to the American society such as lifestyle and economical changes, and incorporates his discoveries to the growing rate of obesity in America. He begins by stating “people have started to become increasingly sedentary by driving to work instead of walking, driving to do errands, watching television, playing video games, and using a computer instead of exercising” (p. 240). He adds “the growth of the fast food industry has made an abundance of high calorie meals widely available” (p. 241) and that “as less people eat more meals outside of home, they...

References: Sarah Muntel, R.D. (2012). Obesity Action Coalition. Fast Food is it the Enemy. P 1-34 Retrieved from http://www.obesityaction.org/educational-resources/resource-articles-2/nutrition/fast-food-is-it-the-enemy
Ananya Mandal, M.D. (2014). News Medical. Obesity and Fast Food. P. 1. Retrieved from http://www.news-medical.net/health/Obesity-and-Fast-Food.aspx
Eric Schlosser, (2001), Fast Food and Obesity, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of all the All-American Meals 240-243
Super Size Me (directed by Morgan Spurlock)
What Causes Overweight and Obesity? Overweight and Obesity Clinical Trials (2012, July 12). Retrieved from: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/causes.html
Shimon-Haber, Shimon Haber LLC (2014). Movie Synopsis: Super Size Me. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0390521/synopsis?ref_=tt_stry_pl
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