Obesity: Fast Food is Not the Blame

In many major big cities, fast food restaurants are popping up like never before. On each block you have a different choice of foods to choose from. Will it be the nuggets, a burger, a taco, or perhaps a big box of chicken? Fast food is not only sucking down people's dollars, it is taking a toll on a great deal of people's health. While these restaurants are on the rise, so is adult and childhood obesity. But can the rise in such health problems really be blamed on fast food or the fast food consumer?

Obesity concerns have grown in the past decades and many have placed the blame on fast food restaurants. However, fast food restaurants are not the ultimate blame. Really, the fast food industry cannot be blamed for the major increase of obese Americans today. While they do contribute to the health issue, the industry does not force consumers to come in and dine on their high in fat foods.

Just as we have a choice to go into a department store and choose what type of clothes we want to dress ourselves in, we have the choice to choose what type of food we will put in our bodies. It is not a hidden secret that the majority of the fast food restaurants around sell unhealthy foods. According to an article printed by Bruce Horovitz, writer for USA Today, "A whopping 96% of main entrees sold at top U.S. chain eateries exceed daily limits for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture" this report comes from an "18-month study conduct by the Rand Corp."

The news is out there concerning the unhealthy servings and serving sizes produced at these major restaurants. If consumers are made aware of this information, why do they continue to eat from such chains?

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These major food chains, even though they are aware of the quality of their foods, know how to appeal to consumers hearts. They wheel you in by using the power of the eyes. For many, seeing is believing and what we see affects our minds. Therefore, food corporations use very attractive and appealing advertisements that persuade people to buy their products, regardless of its quality. Some examples are the super sized fries and drinks, the woman eating the oversized burger, or the advertised all you can eat low priced pizza buffet.

With all the influential ads though, there still remains one factor, people have free will. If a person chooses to eat "two to three hamburgers a day" such was the case with a 41 year old obese man in Indiana, and becomes obese who is the blame?

Regardless of the known facts, others still would argue that fast food restaurants are the cause of obesity today. Take the documentary film Super Size Me, were Mr. Spurluck decides to eat nothing but three meals a day of McDonald's food. He took in 5,000 calories a day and gain 25lbs in the end along with some other health issues.

Another argument concerning super-sized portion sizes at these fast food restaurants is from the book Super Sized Kids, the book states “On average we eat almost three hundred calories more per day and burn about three hundred calories less a day than we did twenty years ago.” The book adds an additional thought concerning the reduction of family meals stating, “Most families simply don’t eat together as they used to. And that tends to pack on the pounds.” Not eating at home encourages a greater chance of eating out.

Nonetheless, while the fast food may contribute it does not cause obesity; again people choose to eat what they want to, healthy or unhealthy. According to Sandra Alters, author of the book Obesity, “People choose to dine in fast food restaurants knowing that fast food is not the most nutritious. In doing so, they take responsibility for their food choices.”  

Walter Latimore, writer of Super Sized Kids, makes this statement: “One-fourth of the U.S. population-that’s 70 million of us-step inside the doors of a fast-food restaurant every day. So why should it surprise anyone that probably half of our children are chowing down on fast food every day?”

In the article Does Fast Food Cause Obesity, it states four reasons as to why it would, “ingredients, portion sizes, cost, and convenience.” Again this still remains a personal choice. We choose what we want to eat, how much we want to eat, and how much we want to pay for what we eat. So when you take a step back and look at the picture closely, consumers of these fast foods are choosing to eat such unhealthy foods, they are not being forced. To help reduce our chances of obesity we have to start with our personal food choices.



Alters, Sandra. Obesity. Christine Nasso, 2006.

Horovitz, Bruce (USAToday.com). Study: 96% of restaurant entrees exceeds USDA limits. 

Does Fast Food Cause Obesity? (www.bariatric-surgery-source.com)

Walt Latimore, MD, MPH, RD, LD Sherri Flynt and Steve Halliday. Super Sized Kids. Time Warner Book Group, 2005

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