Fast Food Industry and Obesity in the United States
Obesity, says the American health expert Martin Keller, “is the most worrisome health problem that is gradually eating into human populations in the United States.” According to the human health expert, two out of every five Americans are bound to suffer from obesity- a condition caused by the accumulation of excess fats in the human body. While majority would regard sheer lack of adequate physical exercise as the only predisposing factor to obesity, research has shown that unhealthy lifestyle and dietary habits that envisages increased intake of fast food among the American populations is the leading cause of obesity in the United States of America. Increased consumption of fast foods is often associated with the ever swelling numbers of obese among the American consumers. This article aims to examine how fast food affects American society and its effect on obesity.
Different kinds of fast food
Fast foods, common in restaurants, eating joint and kiosks, have a short preparation time and can be readily served on demand. The common fast food includes, chips, pitas, hamburgers, fried chicken, hot dogs, ice cream, pizza, tacos, French fries, sandwiches, chicken nuggets, onion rings salads, mashed potatoes and chili. The selling outlets are strategically located in the restaurants, gas stations, kiosks and along the streets for easy access to all categories of clients including children, pregnant women and the physically challenged. Outlets such as restaurants, filling stations and drive Inns have made it very convenient for the driving customers to pick food from their cars. Additionally, quick service and provision of indoor and outdoor seating where customers can be served and eat from are strikingly catchy. A combination of these factors has seen the numbers of fast consumers swell year-in-year-out in the U.S.
A part from the traditional U.S. fast food such as hamburgers and fries, a keen observant will realize that there are Chinese, Japanese and African outlets serving fast food such as been fried, pizza, sushi, rice and meat to their nationals in U.S. This shows an extent at which fast food industry is serving the better part of the U.S. population including immigrants. From my own experience, fast foods are eye-catching, tasty and mouth watering, have a pleasant taste and aromatic smell to be ignored. Above all they are wonderfully packaged and light for take-away services. Therefore, a visit to any restaurant and outlet offering fast foods for sale will definitely turn out to be an eating binge.
A visit to any restaurant in the U.S. will never cease to amaze anyone because different classes of people jam the restaurants for the fast foods which are served at any time within the day given their high demand. Majority of the working class deem fast food appropriate while on duty because they spend the least time taking readily available fast foods for lunch compared to classical dishes that take longer to prepare and serve. Apart from the extensive marketing strategies and convenience involved in the taking of fast foods, low prizes of the fast foods compared to traditional delicacies contribute to their increased consumption.
Influence of fast food on children and pregnant women
Fast food industry has been identified as the main cause of obesity among U.S. citizens, especially among the children; children do have a predilection to love the pleasant taste and smell associated with fast food. Most of the established restaurants and fast food stores such as McDonalds also target children in their advertisement. As a result, parents frequently accompany their children to the restaurants for take away hamburgers, chips and fried chicken. A discussion with one of the restaurant supervisors showed that children aged four to nineteen eat the most of fast food- a phenomenon which is attributed to higher rates of obesity in children.
Pregnant women are equally not spared by the fast foods in U.S. Large amount of calories from the fast food increases the weight of pregnant women tremendously leading to obesity. Considering the high sugar and fat levels in fast foods, it is clear that fast food is the number one cause of obesity in U.S because the all the overweight Americans are lovers of fast foods at one point in their life.
The rising consumption of fast food may also lead to poor dietary intake and addiction to fast foods. research finding, a discussion a with a group of individuals who went to purchase fast food in one of the restaurants showed that they cannot avoid taking fast food because they are tasty and cheap. The resultant unhealthy habit gives way for obesity which is known to bear detrimental effects such as including high blood pressure, cancer, liver diseases, psychological and emotional effects, skin infections and asthma on the overweight (Keller, 2008).
In conclusion, fast food is a hot commodity in the restaurants. Due to the growing demand, it is sold in different outlets such as kiosks and filling stations and it is consumed by children because of the pleasant smell and taste. Additionally, it is affordable and can be consumed very quickly. Fast food is known to be the leading cause of obesity in U.S. mostly in children who are the first target of the television and magazine advertisements. Therefore, to prevent the American populations from the undesirable effects of fast foods, policy makers should limit the sales of soft drinks and fast foods in restaurants and at various retail points as well as check advertisements promoting the consumption of fast foods.
Johnson, C. (2007). New Prescription for Childhood Obesity: Fight Childhood Obesity with Antioxidants & Phytonutrients. New York: Universe, Inc.
Keller, K. (2008). Encyclopedia of Obesity. Volume 1’ A-I. Los Angeles: Sage Publications
Liverman, C.T, Koplan, J & Kraak, V.I. (2005). Preventing Childhood obesity: Health in the Balance. Washington, D.C: National Academia Press.
O’Dea, J.A. & Erikson, M.P. (2010). Childhood Obesity Prevention: International Research, Controversies and Interventions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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