The rise of the fast food business in the 1970s was the beginning of a new industry that currently has around 300,000 establishments in the United States alone. It was a new business model meant to attract potential consumer with new products that were intended to boost their profits. Even though the venture was noble in its formative stages, it was soon apparent that there was a direct correlation between fast foods and the rise in obesity cases. It was more shocking when researchers went on to reveal 19% of children were now at the risk of developing type two diabetes which was mostly unseen before (Barbour, 2011, p. 47). It is possible to investigate this issue by first taking a trip back memory lane during the pioneer days when people had to cultivate their plants, take care of their animals and prepare their foods from scratch. During this period there were no pre-made meals or box mixes and the planning of meals had to be done a day in advance. A change from this norm to the quick and easy foods such as the greasy burgers that we are now accustomed has led to an unprecedented rise in obesity rates across the globe. In this essay, I seek to prove that the consumers are not entirely to blame for this epidemic and practical options to solving the debacle.
The rise in obesity cases across the globe has led to a blame-game scenario where fast food franchises absolve themselves of liability while blaming the consumers binge eating demeanor as the primary cause. Recently there have been cases of individuals who had taken this rivalry to a new level when a group of young individuals decided to sue McDonald’s for causing their obesity. Absurd as it seems, those facing this contemporary affliction may not be entire to blame. Their affordability and accessibility are some of the primary reasons why individuals increasingly find themselves having to consume these foods. Keeping away from these foods proves difficult, especially when those expected to avoid them for their detrimental effects seem to lack an alternative (In Sanford, 2014, p. 56). It is important to note that teenage consumers in particular lack options while growing up as the fast foods that they come across are ubiquitously quick and cheap which increases their allure. Food chain franchises have profit as their priority with the consumer’s health coming second. It is apparent that these establishments and stakeholders in the industry are fully aware of the health risks that their products might have on their consumers. Appropriate safeguards are lacking as they intentionally avoid going public with this information making the fast food industry a significant culprit.
Researchers have concluded that an increase in the calories that individuals consume coupled with low physical activities play a significant role in promoting obesity among individuals. An analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examinations Survey (NHANES) into obesity reveals that an increase in energy and quantity of high-density foods that persons consume is to blame for obesity. Furthermore, studies show that the United States has a per capita calorie intake that has risen presently to a figure that exceeds 300 kilocalories (kcal) in its population between the years 1985 and 2002. It is common knowledge that most Americans are overcommitted and overscheduled, running from activity to activity without making plans on what they would want to consume. It is for this reason that they see it fit to grab a takeout meal at bodega than preparing a meal at home. A look at the nutritional content of foods from the menus in these restaurants brings the issue into perspective. For instance, a McDonald Big Mac has 540calories/29g of fats, a Wendy’s Bacon Deluxe Double with 880calories/52g of fat and a Taco Bell Nachos Bell Grande containing a whopping 770 calories/24g of fat (Schlosser, 2002, p. 78). It is quite astonishing that consumers are not privy to this information while it is succinct that they are serving foods that are highly processed, full of calories, fat, and sodium. An individual could easily consume 1,500 calories in one sitting. An individual choosing the typical fast food meal each day is at risk of taking in a high calorific content leading to waiting for gain and health conditions such as heart disease.
In conclusion, fast foods revolutionized life by providing individuals with a quick and affordable way of obtaining food. It is only recently that the real costs of this culture have dawned individuals with an increase in obesity cases. The fast-food franchises also play a significant role in this situation as they fail to inform the consumers of the calories that their foods contain and the effects they may have on their health. Moreover, it is quite unfortunate that most individuals are not aware of the consequences that fast foods have on them and are mostly unaware of the risk of developing cardiovascular disease from the extra fat in their meals. All players should embark on sensitization campaign encouraging the consumption of low sodium diets that would most likely maintain their blood pressure at an optimum level. Individuals should choose healthier options such as lettuce topped grilled meat, substitute their fries, choose calorie-free drinks and leave off sauces as dressings for their food for posterity purposes.
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