Many people in the United States believe that if it weren’t for fast food restaurants, they would not be overweight. People have even sued McDonald’s for their weight problem. While fast food may be one of the contributors to the obesity epidemic, it surely doesn’t stand alone. There are many more reasons why people living in the United States are overweight. Some of these reasons include problems within the school systems, peer pressure, education, and even just where a person lives.
It’s clear fast food restaurants are part of the problem; look around and you see that they are everywhere. Just take a short drive down Cypress Avenue in Redding and you will drive past no fewer than eight fast food restaurants and three convenience stores within two blocks. If that is the route driven on your way home from work, and you don’t feel up to making a home cooked meal, what do you think your family will eat that night? The fast food industry knows this and has placed themselves in high traffic areas so they can capitalize on tired parents. They are also quick, easy and inexpensive places to grab a quick bite to eat in the middle of a hurried day of errands. It is very hard to get away from eating at a McDonald’s or Burger King at least a few times a month.
There are also huge problems within the school system that contribute to the obesity rate among children, and once children become overweight, it is extremely hard for them to regain a healthy weight and good eating habits. Schools that are simply overcrowded exacerbate the problem because they have to start their lunch periods as soon as two hours after school begins and end the rotating lunch periods only a few hours before the day ends. This many lunch periods in a day leads to some students eating way too early and others eating way too late. In an article written by Liz Nakazawa about the school lunch problem, she states that “childhood obesity rates and student tendencies to graze on vending machine and fast food fare are only going to worsen, some experts say, if lunch periods become rushed or occur too early or too late to coincide with peak hunger periods.”
When schools are forced to have many lunch periods, then logic will tell us that they will not be very long. When a student only has twenty minutes to stand in a long line just to get their lunch and then find a place to eat it, many students will choose to forgo the line and just grab a quick snack and a soda from the vending machines. Debbie Hefner, who oversees nutrition services for Ogden School District in Utah, says, “we’re not teaching kids to sit, have conversation and enjoy a meal, and pay attention to their nutrition” (qtd. in Nakazawa). Children are learning bad habits at school that they will carry on into adulthood and if their family doesn’t have good dinner habits either, the poor child will never have a chance to even learn what a good meal looks like. An article in The Washington Post comments on the trouble that...