Supersize Costs Essay

2432 words - 10 pages

Supersize Costs

What did you have for lunch today? What about your relatives, friends, or co-workers? Perhaps they visited a McDonalds or a Burger King or Taco Bell. Or, maybe someone you know visited one of the many regional fast-food chains that exist such as Sonic or Jack in the Box. Or maybe it was you that ended up briefly stepping out of the office for a quick trip down to the neighborhood take-out joint for a greasy burger, fries, and a sugar loaded Coke. It is doubtful that any of the previously mentioned scenarios would surprise anyone given the rising popularity of the fast food industry. The fast food industry is growing into a 200 billion dollar a year industry being helped ...view middle of the document...

It is estimated that obesity accounts for 18 percent of deaths among Americans aged 40 to 85 (“Obesity Kills”). And the saddest part of all of this is that obesity is a preventable problem.

Declaring fast food a causation of obesity has always been a difficult theory to prove. There can be many factors as to why a person is obese. Couple this with the fact that there are not very many studies that exist that have made a definitive conclusion that fast food can cause obesity. So, researchers have been hard pressed to establish anything more than a correlation between fast food and obesity. That is until a 2005 study conducted by Mark Pereira, Ph.D., assistant professor in epidemiology, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Obesity Program at Children's Hospital Boston, established a more definitive relationship between fast food and obesity (36-42). They spent 15 years monitoring the frequency of fast food visits along with studying the weight gain of 3,031 young adults between the ages of 18 – 30 years old. The study took into consideration other factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity, and still was able to reach the conclusion that those participants who ate at fast food establishments more often had gained more weight than those who ate it less frequently. Mark Pereira summed up the results of the study best by stating, “While there have been many discussions about fast-food's effects on obesity, this appears to be the first scientific, comprehensive long-term study to show a strong connection between fast-food consumption, obesity, and risk for type 2 diabetes" (qtd. in University of Minnesota).

A natural response to the nation's obesity problem is that people need to be more responsible and stop eating fast food and stop feeding it to their children. Yes, it is hard to argue against that being an ideal situation. It's unfortunate that most people are not aware of what the dietary makeup is of a typical fast food item or what the nutritional value of one is. Fast foods are loaded with fat, sugar, and lots of salt is added for taste. It also contains many more calories per servings than a similarly sized portion of healthier food items (“MRC”). This still doesn't absolve the fast food industry of any responsibility for adding to the nation's obesity epidemic. They are preparing these foods and they know what they contain. To the credit of some fast food restaurants, they have been offering healthier alternatives on their menu. For instance, McDonalds offers lower calorie meals such as salads and have also given an option for the popular children's meal to swap the french fries for apple slices instead. Despite this, the proponents still raise a valid point. That ultimately, it is up to each person to choose what they put into their bodies and what they don't.

Another cause of concern of the rise in popularity of fast food and its connection to...

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