The availability and convenience of fast food has created a nation of junk food addicts and overweight individuals. In a nation fueled by speed and convenience, the fast food industry supplies quick solutions for families on the run. With drive-throughs at almost every corner, there is no doubt a connection exists between fast food and obesity in America.
Obesity, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is “the excessively high amount of body fat or adipose tissue in relation to lean body mass.” Symptoms of obesity include increased glucose levels, high cholesterol levels and a body mass index (BMI) of over 30. According to a variety of national organizations, such as the American Obesity Association and National Institutes of Health, obesity is quickly becoming an epidemic in the United States. The number of affected children has doubled and tripled for adolescents. The CDC estimates that over one-half of the American adult population suffers from obesity. Such large numbers indicate a growing concern for the overall health of the American people.
Fast Food Industry
Industry giants like McDonalds, Burger King and A&W use effective advertising, marketing, promotions, spokespeople and slogans to woo potential customers. While the companies surely are not in the business of harming customers, most are not making an active effort to promote healthy menu options. Instead, fast food companies focus on making millions with cheap products full of fillers and fat.
The convenience and price tag attached to fast food joints also lures potential customers. A meal complete with entree sandwich, side of french fries and a beverage can run under $5 and take less than five minutes to be served. What patrons fail to acknowledge before hitting the drive-through are the numbers that really count. The $5 combo can easily average over 1000 calories plus over one-half the recommended daily allowance of fats, sodium and cholesterol. According to fast food marvel McDonalds’, the trademark Big Mac value meal rings in at 1130 calories, 75 mg of cholesterol and 55 percent of the daily recommended value of sodium.
The convenience of fast food may seem difficult to avoid at times with the hustle and bustle of modern life. If you plan to partake in fast-food fare, be aware that there are healthier options than a burger and fries. Avoid burgers and opt for grilled chicken sandwiches or salads with low-fat dressing. If you do eat a sandwich, eat only one-half of the bun or toss the bread altogether. Skip the French fries and onion rings and choose yogurt or fruit cups instead. Save calories where you can, even by swapping the traditional sugar-packed soda for a white milk or plain water.
Awareness is one of the most important factors in fighting the bulge and reducing the obesity epidemic in America. Ask questions and require more from food retailers. While the fast food industry does little to support a healthy diet, the blame cannot solely be placed on their shoulders. Each individual is responsible for their own choices and decisions. Fast food and obesity in America are most definitely correlated.
U.S.A. the Fast Food Nation:Obesity as an Epidemic- https://mtbi.asu.edu/downloads/Obesity.pdf
Fast Food Obesity- https://fastfoodobesity.net/
McDonald’s USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items- https://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/nutritionexchange/nutritionfacts.pdf