This Essay Discusses The Possible Blame On The Fast Food Industry For The Obesity Problem In America Today.

1963 words - 8 pages

Current Societal Problem: Fast Food and ObesityAmericans may be eating themselves to death. Obesity rates in America have grown from 2.9% of the population in the early 1990s to over 5% in 2000 and it continues to go up every year now accounting for over 20 million Americans. Over 400,000 people a year die as a result of obesity related conditions making obesity the second biggest preventable cause of death, second only to smoking (Maze, 2004). The World Heath Organization says obesity has become a pandemic and many place the blame on the unhealthy food choices of fast food chains Americans consume everyday.Obesity CausesFast FoodThe convenience of fast food has led to it becoming a staple in the fast-paced American lifestyle. Unfortunately, this has also led to unhealthy, high calorie, high fat food choices and in turn, helped to multiply the obesity problem in America and around the world. Although the exact recommended number varies by sex and physical activity, most nutritionists recommend a diet consisting of approximately 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day for adults and less than 600 fat calories (Heart Information Network, 2000). A single meal consisting of a McDonalds Big Mac with Cheese, a super-sized order of french fries, and a large Coke almost reaches the recommended total day's intake at 1,737 calories and well exceeds the recommended fat intake at 654 fat calories (About.com Health, 2007). These numbers show how a diet including fast food will exceed the recommended daily allowance and contribute to the obesity of fast food customers.Other CausesWhile a high calorie diet may indeed aggravate the obesity problem, there are many other factors to consider. For example, another aspect of American life that may be just as responsible for or perhaps even more responsible for American obesity than poor dietary habits is a sedentary life style. It is recommended for adults to participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate activity such as brisk walking per day in order to keep their bodies healthy; however, studies show that only 40% of Americans actually consistently practice the minimum recommended amount of exercise and 25% of Americans are completely inactive (Georgia State University, 2000). In addition, when considering the obesity rate, one must also consider factors such as genetics. Research has shown most morbidly obese individuals come from families consisting of a majority of obese individuals. Some may argue the reasoning behind such statistics is a passing down of bad eating and exercise habits, and while this may be partially to blame, research also shows there is a genetic predisposition towards obesity in many family lines. Studies have already found more than 70 genes that are linked to obesity (Lim, 2000). To make matters worse, once a person reaches obesity, his or her body believes the size is normal and will adjust metabolic levels to fight and keep the body at or above that weight (Gara, 2005).Nutritional Labels and...

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