top-rated free essay

The Effects of Fast Food on Today’s Societies

By bobotata1229 Nov 14, 2013 2823 Words
Running head: THE EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ON TODAY’S SOCIETIES Chambers D. !1

!
!
!
!
The Effects of Fast Food on Today’s Societies
Dustin Chambers
Sociology 1010
11/12/2012
P 05

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Running head: THE EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ON TODAY’S SOCIETIES Chambers D. !2

!
Abstract
This paper discusses a few of the negative ways in which fast food harms the world’s societies. The three key topics of which are covered by this paper are the ways societies health, culture, and environment are directly and indirectly touched by the fast food industry. For each of the three topics, many sub-topics will be covered. Such as for health, the way obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease play a role in the never failing results of fast food. The ways targeting children through fast food advertising correlates with unhealthiness will also be discussed. For the culture of society, we will discuss how it changes the values and practices of societies, along with the ways symbolic interaction plays a role in this subject. The loss of knowledge through these changing cultural traditions are also a main topic. Finally, for the Environment portion of this paper, we will look at many ways that the industrialized food production methods negatively impact our world’s environment, and how in numerous cases those McDonaldized practices cause trickling down health effects on those who live in our environment.

!
Keyword: Health, Culture, Environment, Mcdonaldization, Symbolic Interaction

!
!
!
!
!
!

Running head: THE EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ON TODAY’S SOCIETIES Chambers D. !3 For many Americans, and others around the world, fast food seems to be like a beacon of hope. It has given many, more control over their daily lives, and the free time in which they have. While allowing many to streamline their schedules, people are still able to get the food they want at the snap of a finger (Parkins, 2004). Most people seem to feel as though when consuming a fast food meal they are simply doing just that; consuming a meal that is fast, yet also a meal that feeds their body. Upon simple research, many consumers would be able to find the negative effects in which fast food actually brings upon them (Currey & Himote, 2011). Research has shown, time and time again, the hazards of consuming fast food. These hazards include things ranging from heart disease, obesity, and even some forms of cancer (Currey & Himote, 2011). All of these pre-mentioned illnesses are just the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to the negatives that come from the fast food industry. Fast food affects do not start at the restaurant and end with the consumer. Their range is one of a global scale, it affects all ages, and does not discriminate by race or gender (Currey & Himote, 2011). Not only does fast food affect the physical body in which it is consumed, it also affects the cultural society in which it is brought in to. It is simple to see how if a culture was to bring in foods that deteriorate the societies population’s health, how the society overall would be shaped differently (Parker, Schaefer, Hermans, 2006). Aside from the health of the society, it also changes the society’s culture and day to day life in a way that could even affect the society’s morals and traditional values (Parker, Schaefer, Hermans, 2006).

The fast food industry has created a McDonaldization of societies and cultures. This McDonaldization has not only affected cultures but also the environment in which the cultures are located. In order to keep up with demand for food, which fast food corporations need,

Running head: THE EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ON TODAY’S SOCIETIES Chambers D. !4 farming practices have had to be altered (Currey & Hinote, 2011). In turn, this happening has created something called the food industrial complex, which is an agreement made between people such as farmers, those in the private industries, and governments, which promises the constant flow of goods needed to maintain the food industry (Currey & Hinote, 2011). Throughout this paper, the facts and ideas of ways in which the fast food industry is affecting not only societies health and culture, but also the ways in which it affects the world’s environment will be discussed thoroughly. Along with this, the ways in which McDonaldization and symbolic interaction play a role in this topic, will also be discussed (Currey & Hinote, 2011). Justification

A society’s health is contributed to, by that of many factors. The food that people consume plays one of the main roles in overall health. Intaking high calorie, low nutritional, high preservative fast foods would not be to the benefit of the consumer. Most health related studies over the topic of fast food are those pertaining to obesity (Andreyev, Kelly, Harris, 2010). Obesity, neither, discriminates against any age or gender, and can lead to other illnesses like that of cardiovascular heart disease and diabetes. These illness’ have a direct relation to the extreme increase of industrial production of our foods, which at this point, is necessary in order to keep up with the demand for fast foods (Currey & Hinote, 2011). Proof that helps back up this information is a 2007 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, that showed the leading cause of death is heart disease. The next two causes of death are those of cancer and strokes, which are also able to be directly related to the increased industrial production of food through the consumption of these foods along with the effects on our environment (Currey & Hinote, 2011). Not only does the ingested food harm directly, but the pre mentioned

Running head: THE EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ON TODAY’S SOCIETIES Chambers D. !5 industrialized agriculture industries necessary practices to keep with demand harms the overall health of a society and will be covered more fully later on ( Currey & Hinote, 2011). Another major issue that is arising in society, due to fast food, is the way in which children are growing up. The youth of this age are being brought up in a world in which they are bombarded by constant advertisements for many popular unhealthy fast foods (Andreya, Kelly, Harris, 2010). It is hard for them to not partake in these habits when they see them constantly due to those who run the companies and create the flow of advertisements (Andreya, Kelly, harris, 2010). The staggering statistic showing that when choosing somewhere to dine out, Americans aged 13-17 will select fast food over 86 percent of the time, is a negative homage to the amount of advertising that they are hit with (Parker, Schaefer, Herman, 2006). Many studies give factual evidence to prove this case basis on the ways that fast food advertisers directly target the young and naive viewers. Many studies, not only conclude that the banning of such advertisements would lower the overall adiposity of adolescents by 18 percent, but also that having the advertisements still airing and geared toward the particular audience, heavily influences the preferences of those (youth) who are the innocent viewers of the ads (Andreya, Kelly, harris, 2010). Though these particular studies, which create direct evidence to this theory are available to all, many large fast food companies / corporations such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s continue to gear directly at societies youth. A fact that shows the constant accessibility to fast food is that statistic that over 38 percent of the American nation’s top health institutions contain fast-food outlets in their main medical campuses. This alone, is a noticeable enough happening to show how greatly the McDonaldization of the industry is affecting our society (Parker, Schaefer, Herman, 2006).

Running head: THE EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ON TODAY’S SOCIETIES Chambers D. !6 These happenings are not just simply touching the youths physical health, but also their mental health due to changes being caused in their current cultural societies. For instance, at many times, and for the most part of our human history, families have eaten together (Parkins, 2004). This shared family time is of great value to the learning and sharing of knowledge and culture from the aged and knowledgeable elders of the family, on to their young. However, with the sudden soaring of fast food popularity, these shared family times are being cut short, or in most cases, eliminated completely (Parkins, 2004). The loss of this vital time causes a disrupt in the succession of knowledge on the subject of food preparation of truly healthy, nutritious foods, therefore, once again many children are left to believe that fast food is an acceptable, good choice for their daily lives. Though some are able to see this problem and choose to steer clear of the issues cause, most do not (Parkins, 2004).

Unfortunately, many young children who believe it is an acceptable form of nutrition to consume fast foods, go on to be teenagers who still maintain this belief. At this age, it becomes more than just an easily accessible form of nutrition. It borders with the societal idea that consuming fast food is in many ways, “hip” or on trend (Parker, Schaefer, Herman, 2006). George Herbert Mead’s theory of symbolic interaction explains the way in which many teens think when concerning fast food. Fast Food is particularly in its prime in this current time of history, therefore consuming it, would allow one to be a part of “the newest / best thing” (Parker, Schaefer, Herman, 2006) .Currently, one might even go as far as believing that certain brands of fast food are even more on trend than others. This ideology is one that has helped to fuel the global value of the fast food industry to its estimated amount in the year 2009 of an upward of 115.1 billion dollars (Parker, Schaefer, Herman, 2006). The attitudes of Chinese, Japanese, and

Running head: THE EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ON TODAY’S SOCIETIES Chambers D. !7 American teenagers towards fast food and the many brands which make it up, helps to give evidence to this idea. This study compared and contrasted The ideals of teenagers which focused on the ways in which they prefer one fast food brand over the other, due to its popularity in the society (Parker, Schemer, Hermans, 2006). Evidence shows this cultural fad is one that adds more reason for people to choose an unhealthy choice, over the more health conscience one (Parker, Schaefer, Hermans, 2006).

Though all of these issues are of a clearly serious nature concerning society, the one happening that all people, whether consumers of fast food or not, can feel the effects of is that of the strain fast food has on the world’s environment (Currey & Hinote, 2011). Many people choose to believe that if something is negatively affecting our environment that they can just ignore it, however in this case, the negative effects are damaging the earth and then trickling down and altering not only the worlds animals health and being, but also the health of all who live on earth (Currey & Hinote, 2011). As before mentioned, fast food has created a McDonaldization which is directly effecting our environment. In order to have enough meat for the current fast food consumption, many Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, or CAFO’s, are being introduced into the world (Currey & Hinote, 2011). A CAFO is an animal feeding operation in which animals are held for more than 45 days, and is a direct factor thats is seen as being linked to greenhouse gas emissions. The production of animals in these facilities calls for the overuse of many hormones and antibiotics. This leads to an increased chance of creating resistant forms of diseases caused by the bacteria and virus that have been over exposed to the medications (Currey & Hinote, 2011). This in turn, leads to the spreading of out-of-control versions of illness’ like that of influenza, H1N1, and Salmonella from the animals, to the

Running head: THE EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ON TODAY’S SOCIETIES Chambers D. !8 workers, and then on to the general public (Currey & Hinote, 2011). Another route for the hormones and antibiotics that are used on the animals, to be able to negatively affect society, is through the general consumption. Eating meats high in antibiotics will directly cause the consumer to build up a resistance to them also, thus again creating anti biotic resistant bacterias (Currey & Hinote, 2011).

Another negative effect that stems directly from industrialized agriculture is that of the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides. This issue, at first glance, seems to be not as major as the previous, however the implications can be just as damaging. The act of industrialized agriculture is known to be the greatest producer of human generated green house gas emissions (Currey & Hinote, 2011). Once again, in order to keep up with societies demand, farmers find it necessary to use fertilizers and pesticides, in high amounts, on their crops. The extreme use of pesticides on crops has been proven to cause some species of birds, along with some insect species, to become highly vulnerable to the many chemicals used in the pesticides. Which, eventually kills many creatures from the affected species (Currey & Hinote, 2011). Once soil has been heavily fertilized , it can become acidic, and therefore will impede the growth of the plants causing them to, like the birds and insects, become vulnerable. Once the fertilizers and pesticides are used on the plants, a good majority of them tend to find there way into the water supply, therefore enabling them to do even greater damage. Multiple studies have suggested that once these chemicals enter the water supply, many children in urban environments feel negative effects on their neurological systems (Currey & HInote, 2011).

!
!

Running head: THE EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ON TODAY’S SOCIETIES Chambers D. !9

!
Opinion
In my opinion, through the use of factual information, I can see the many negative side effects that fast food creates on today’s society. I have always been an avid supporter of not partaking in the unhealthy choice of fast food, but my bias was simply based on its directly negative health effects. Now my belief against fast food has much more reason behind it, such as the shocking statistics that show of the ways in which it harms not just the physical health of the consumer, but also the ways in which its production directly harms the environment that we all live in. I had no second thought of the drastically negative effects which it created on our environment, but after acquiring the knowledge of this, it has changed not only my views, buta also me.

After realizing there were so many things about the fast food industry that I was naive to, I will now choose to research things more fully when I feel there is something which I am wanting to avoid. Along with not knowing about the effects caused on our environment by fast food and fast food production, I also did not realize the way it is affecting our societies youth. I feel many people are aware of this change that is occurring among societies youth, but due to the fact that they are not aware of fast foods negative implication on the Earth’s environment, and how our world cannot sustain this kind of living, choose to naively allowing this life style to carry on.

I believe that the key to correcting this problem is available knowledge and education on the subject. If people as a whole start spreading the word in ways such as television ads which counter the ones promoting the fast food, pamphlets, web advertising, or basically anything

Running head: THE EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ON TODAY’S SOCIETIES Chambers D. !10 possible to get the word out, the lack of knowledge on the subject may be filled. I do not feel that this is an issue which can be solved overnight, but I do believe that we have to start somewhere. Hopefully one day people will realize that we all share one Earth and that it is our home. Currently we are living as though we can not be stopped, but if something doesn't change that, we will be.

!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!
!

Running head: THE EFFECTS OF FAST FOOD ON TODAY’S SOCIETIES Chambers D. !11

!
!
References
Parker, R., Schaeffer, A., Hermans, C. (2006). An investigation into teens’ attitudes towards fast-food brands in general: A cross-cultural analysis. Journal of foodservice business research, 9(4). Retrieved from http://www.longwood.edu/staff/miskecjm/400food.pdf Andreyeva, T., Kelly, I., & Harris, J. (2010). Exposure to food advertising on television: Associations with children's fast food and soft drink consumption and obesity. Economics and human biology. Retrieved from http://ruddcenter.yale.edu/resources/upload/docs/ what/advertising/ExposureFoodAdsTV_EHB_3.11.pdf

Parkins, W. (2004). Out of time: Fast food subjects and slow living. Time and Society, 13(⅔), 363-382. Retrieved from https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/rfouche/www/readings/parkins.pdf Currie, J., DellaVigna, S., Moretti, E., & Pathania, V. (2009). The effect of fast food restaurants on obesity. Retrieved from http://emlab.berkeley.edu/~sdellavi/wp/fastfoodJan09.pdf Currey, A. D., & Hinote, Ph.D., B. P. (2011). The evolution of industrial food production: Mcdonaldization and population health. Scientia et Humanitas. Retrieved from http:// frank.mtsu.edu/~scientia/Volume 1/Scientia Spring 121_135.pdf

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Effects of Fast Foods on Diets

    ...On a recent afternoon at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, Calif., students sat at picnic tables and bit into McDonald’s cheeseburgers, Subway sandwiches and Quiznos flatbreads. They didn’t have to travel far to get their fast-food fix for lunch. In fact, they didn’t even have to leave campus. The burgers and sandwiches were availab...

    Read More
  • Effect Fast Food

    ...Fast foods have become a common trend amongst many individuals. Most people would always say they don't have time hence opt for fast foods. With the advancement of modern technology these foods are made in way that leaves questions unanswered. Despite research showing organic food such as meat and poultry serve better nutritious supplements, mo...

    Read More
  • Environmental Effects of Fast-Food (French)

    ...general, nical advances since World War II have resulted in are direct marketing to a local customer. In 1999, significant economic benefits as well as environIowa farmers reported 150,000 acres of organic mental and social detriments. Organic agriculture cropland to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and seeks to use those advances that c...

    Read More
  • Effects on Eating Fast or Processed Foods

    ...Effects on Eating Fast or Processed Foods Today, many people eat fast and processed foods instead of a home cooked meal. Most people think that fast food is fast, cheap and convenient. However, at the same time, fast food is contributing to a big social problem in the United States. In the US alone eight out of ten adults over the age of 25 is...

    Read More
  • The Cause and Effect of Fast Food Restaurants

    ...Today, fast food restaurants have appeared in large quantities all over the world. Many fast food companies all have business everywhere such as McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King. Variety of people, especially the youths, prefers to eat fast food than cook at home. Absolutely, fast food is convenient for people’s lives, and has become popular ...

    Read More
  • Fast Food Driven Society

    ... Jessica Brandon Fast Food Driven Society In a recent documentary film I’ve seen called, “Super-Size Me,” it was stated that in the past 20-25 years, obesity levels in America have doubled. Why you may wonder? Many factors contribute to the way we live in our society today, but the main reason for obesity levels being so high is the f...

    Read More
  • The Effects of Eating Fast Foods

    ...THE EFFECTS OF EATING FAST FOODS NAME : NOR AZWANNIS BINTI FAHROLROZI (2009680788) NORMALIZA BINTI ZAMAN (2009605054) COURSE : DIPLOMA in NURSING (HS110-3C) SUBJECT : ENGLISH FOR ACADEMIC PURPOSES CODE : BEL 311 (FIRST DRAFT) LECTURER’S : MDM. JEBA EBENEZER DUE DATE : 16th AUGUST 2010 Fast food refers about food such as hambur...

    Read More
  • Effect of Multimedia on Today's Society

    ...Ryan Welch Final Exam Essay B Block 5/31/13 In today’s society, popular belief seems to be the main thing that keeps people around the world fighting for their own cause. Whether the cause involves religion, segregation or anything else, people will in some instances fight to the death to make sure that their cause reigns supreme over ot...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.