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Morgan Karwoski Enc1102 Joesph Cottle February 10, 2013

Should America blame the fast food industry for the increase of obesity in our society? “Americans spend nearly half of their food budget on food prepared outside their home” (Young 239). According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, thirty-five percent of American adults and seventeen percent of American adolescents are obese. Obesity differs from being overweight. Overweight is when a person has a body mass index (BMI) between twentyfive and twenty-nine and obesity is a more serious condition when the BMI is above thirty. BMI is defined as the body fat measurement to the ratio of the weight of the person to their height. Obviously this is becoming a tremendous and severe problem. People are eating unhealthy and too much which is mainly caused by the convenience of fast food restaurants. “By far the most important reason for this added caloric intake appears to be a change in the way food is prepared.”(Miller 19) The time used to prepare meals has dropped dramatically, decreasing the cost of food. Economically, if the price of something decreases the demand increases, if something is cheap the human instinct is to buy it. Some may think that this lower cost of food is beneficiary but in reality it is doing great damage. Cheap food is very accommodating. Why spend more money when you can spend less? This is why fast food industries are so successful. The lower cost allows a wide range of customers -children, adults, different races and people of different salaries. Not limiting the customers makes it more convenient for people to eat their products more regularly without caring about the downfalls.

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Supersizing meals have become an accustomed action in America. Driving up to the fast food window you are given the choice of making your meal larger. Even though fast food restaurants have replaced the word “supersize” with medium or large, they still have the same underlying meaning, even though they manipulate the customer to think they are actually getting a smaller portion. (Young 245) There is a great nit between portion sizes, calorie intake, and weight gain. Portion sizes of fast food industries are about five times more than they were when they were first established. This has become something health professionals are paying close attention to by attempting to lower the portion amounts and raise customer awareness; however this has not become recognized through the industries. Usually when someone enlarges their meal, they do it for their own pleasure. This is known as utility, the choice a person makes insisting it will please them in some way. In the short run you might get pleasure from the larger soda or extra fries you orders, however in the long run your body has the extra calories and fat it has to cope with. This is a reason Americans are gaining the extra pounds. Initially they are thinking about the present and not the future. The food served in fast food industries are not the best picks. What do you think about when you hear the word “fast food”? Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, French fires, and soda are someone’s initial thoughts. They are loaded with calories and fat. Research has found that high intake of trans-fatty acids connects to weight gain more than any other fat source and French fries and fried meats, especially from fast food industries, contain an immense amount of transfatty acids. Trans-fats being found in margarines and frying oils used to essentially make the product more stable, lengthening its shelf-life. (Slender 888)These types of food also explode in calories. For example according to the Calorie Count of Fast Food Industries using USDA daily values, the nutritional ratings for the food at McDonald’s are horrible. Given a few A’s (for their


salads and fruit) everything else is way under the A rating. Another example is Taco Bell, ranging in the C and D ratings. This proves the fact that the foods from fast food industries are unhealthy. Fast food outlets are extremely east to access. Their locations are endless, making it more convenient for people to pull up and order, making it easier for someone to pick the quick, cheap location over the more expensive, longer wait location. Driving down the road you are given endless options and temptations. Where someone lives determine the amount of fast food they consume. For example, if they live in the city they will eat more fast food then someone living in the suburb. Obesity of children is increasing, there is a connection between the amount of fast food parental figures eat and the amount the child eats. Some may think parents do not have control over a child’s food choice and behaviors, but the parent is the biggest role model and influence in the child’s life. Household characteristics also contribute to fast food consumption. Someone with a lower income typically consume more than people living with higher salary incomes (Chang 271). With fast food industries being so convenient/easy to access, obesity is becoming a more serious problem, especially with the younger generation. Obesity is dangerous because it may cause chronic diseases. More than eighty percent of people with type two diabetes are obese or overweight. Type two diabetes is when someone cannot control their body’s blood sugar because the inability to produce insulin. Heart disease is another side effect of obesity. This increases the probability for them to have a heart attack, irregular heartbeat, or even heart failure. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a hormonal disorders in young adolescents, and Dyslipidemia, a risk factor for coronary artery disease, along with other health complications.


Miller, Roger LeRoy, Daniel K. Benjamin, and Douglass C. North. The Economics of Public Issues. 17th Edition. Pearson Education, Inc: New Jersey, 2012. Print. Young, Lisa R., and Marion Nestle. "Portion Sizes And Obesity: Responses Of Fast-Food Companies." Journal Of Public Health Policy 28.2 (2007): 238-248. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Feb. 2013. Stender, S., J. Dyerberg, and A. Astrup. "Fast Food: Unfriendly And Unhealthy." International Journal Of Obesity 31.6 (2007): 887-890. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Feb. 2013.


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