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Fast Food: Who’s to Blame?

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In the United States today, we have an epidemic of obesity. When we think about this problem, we point fingers at restaurants like McDonalds, saying their foods and serving sizes are to blame. However, I would argue that our lifestyles are really to blame. We are so busy that we go to fast food restaurants instead of eating healthy meals at home. Until we stop ourselves, from going too fast food places and from eating other premade food, the problem of obesity in the US will not go away. Customers at fast food restaurant have been known to blame restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King, & Wendy’s to be a factor in obesity. It also has been tested to show that fast food restaurants can cause health problems. There have been lawsuits against fast food restaurants because of the growing obesity epidemic. Many customers have gotten diabetes and heart attacks because of fast food. Today, America is one of the most overweight countries in the world. In fact, health officials say that obesity a condition in which a person is dangerously overweight is one of the biggest health crises facing the U.S. today. It’s also affecting a shocking number of young people: More than 16 percent of kids’ ages 2 to 19 are obese.

It can cause all sorts of serious problems, like cancer and heart failure, and it’s a leading cause of death. Since Americas been growing so have restaurant portion sizes. A lot of the general public blames the obesity on McDonald’s, but isn’t it us who eat there? It’s not as if McDonald’s forces us to eat there. Fast food restaurants cannot be blamed by customers who choose to indulge their product. Customers choose to eat there it’s not the restaurants fault. Nobody cannot singly blame anyone person or corporation for the obesity of America. Maybe we can prevent some of the obesity in America, if we learn to control the amount we eat. There are three traps in foods that make people fat or overweight. They are simple sugars, saturated fat, and hydrogenated oils. Fat food is loaded with these traps. Simple sugars provide only a quick burst of energy. They can leave you feeling sleepy. They are mostly found in soft drinks, ice cream, and most fast foods. Saturated fats can be good or bad. The bad which is saturated fat can do a lot of damage. These can be found in red meats and many of the oils that the fast food chains use. It can also cause heart disease. Hydrogenated oils are the most dangerous of these three. They can stay in your system forever. They are artificial saturated fats. Food companies use them as preservatives and flavor additives.

Because of these traps more than one third of us (33.8%) are obese. 17% of our children is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Senior natural scientist at research firm Rand Corporation and co-author of “Prescription for a Healthy Nation”, Deborah Cohen, believes that McDonalds and Krafts corporations must take most of the blame. She thinks that in several ways consumers cannot withstand unhealthful food all the times because humans are native to want sugary and fatty food. Add that with several consider same marketing messaging, and it is difficult to survive the temptation.

“Overall consumers are cutting back on spending, so when they go out to eat, they get something they really want,” said Sara Monette, director-consumer research at Technomic. In a recent Technomic report, data show that only 23% of consumers polled strongly agree that they tend to pick healthful foods when eating out.

As for the other 77%, the fast-food industry is trying to give them options, even if it’s in response to outside pressure. McDonald’s in July announced menu modifications with the promise that by 2020 the chain will reduce added sugar, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes and what the company called reformulations, reducing sodium an average of 15% across its national menu by 2015. It also said it was revamping the Happy Meal, automatically offering apples and a smaller side of fries than before. The National Restaurant Association in July launched a first-of-its kind voluntary initiative with participants including Burger King, Chili’s and Denny’s, to spur chains to offer and promote more-healthful kids’ meal options.

And Darden — whose chains include Olive Garden and Red Lobster — in September, announced reduced sodium and calorie modifications over the next five to 10 years, as well as kids’ menu items with fruits and vegetables as sides. I believe even if McDonalds and all these fast food restaurants change they will be affected. More people will stop eating their food. There is a risk that when marketers change their popular foods for more healthy foods, they can fail. For example, sodium in restaurant meals is so high that if you would take it out it would be considered healthy, and that wouldn’t sell so well. This is according to Andrea Giancoli, who is a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Fast food has a way to persuade people mostly little children in buying their products; Advertisements and the toys in the kid’s meals. In Florida’s Tampa Bay area fourth and fifth graders created a program called Kidz Bite Back. They learned about companies that sell fast food, junk food, and soft drink. They have been making their own videos and posters about healthier choices about eating and exercising. Marisa Rappa Mowat, manager of the children’s advocacy center at St. Joseph’s Children Hospital of Tampa discusses that fast food companies use advertisements directed to children because they want to escalate sales, not because they care about their health.

Food marketers have assortment techniques that will persuade any child of any age. A noticeable technique that is mostly used is advertising on television and advertising on the internet. Adults are able to monitor they kids but are lazy to. Adults are the ones that put these advertisements together that convince children to eat foods that are really bad for them. Children are not able to monitor what they eat because they are young. The Children’s Food Bill proposed to call for a ban on junk food advertising. They would also want teaching cookery, nutrition and practical food skills in schools. Also they want to have healthier school meals and a prohibition on vending machines in schools. Sin taxes: Another plan of attack is to tax those foods that many feel contribute to the problem. Those in favor of adding a sin tax on junk food, candy and soda believe such taxes would encourage people to make more healthful food choices — and punish those who don’t. Similar levies are already in place on tobacco and alcohol. Illinois recently started taxing sodas and candy; San Francisco is considering such a tax, and similar proposals are afloat in other states and localities. Supporters say such levies would curb unhealthful eating among the obese, but that remains to be seen. (Marni Jameson, 1)

According to the above quote Sin Taxes are being created because of food that is unhealthy and is contributing to unhealthy ways.
Employers that are overweight and normal weight can intend to make their co-workers make more healthy choices which can lead to losing weight. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s2009 Annual Employee Benefits Survey, employers contributing to weight-management programs increased from 2006-200, with percentages of 6% to 25%. Other companies have done similar programs such as American Specialty Health. Since 2002 they started offering its Healthy Roads weight program. About 575 companies have joined, according to Douglas Mets, chief of health services for American Specialty Health. They offer wellness programs to customer which is based in San Diego. Another company in Addison, Texas called Concentra is also a wellness company.

There are different types of company. Many include weight counseling. Also fitness centers, nutritious foods and financial motivations. The better your health is the better the benefit packages. There are companies that recompense workers for participating. For example, some companies add money to the workers health savings account for attending and weight counseling program or taking a health risk assessment.

Everyday there is an argument of who’s to blame. Fast-Food companies are very smart and have various ways to entice You into their restaurants. They make their food more appealing Because they spend billion on advertisement. There are studies That show when you eat fast food when you’re younger you are Likely to eat fast food when you’re older.

The families of ten children sued McDonald’s in 2003. They claimed McDonald’s are responsible because they did not include what the health risk was in eating their food. The ironic thing was that the kids were obese. More lawsuits have been filed because of the obesity epidemic. Many families sued McDonald’s because of not inclosing details and ingredients that is provided in their food.

A man not only sued McDonalds but Wendy’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Burger King. He proclaimed that all of their foods cause him to have obesity, heart attacks, and diabetes. A Judge names Robert handled all the McDonald cases and have came to a conclusion that “McDonald cannot be blamed by consumers who choose to eat there”. She also mentioned that “It is not the place of the law to protect the accusers from their own overindulgence.

A man named Spurlock did a 30-day McDonald binge. By the end of the 30 days he had gained 25 pounds and had no energy. His organs started failing and no matter how hard he tried he could not focus. He thought it was worth it. When Super Size went into theaters in 2004, it was a hit. The audience was grossed out and was shocked to learn that their favorite fast food restaurants were affecting their bodies like this. Later on the movie was nominated for an Academy Award.

McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants such as Wendy’s, Burger King, and others only gave one size of French fries. That size that was only available is now known as small and is one third of the largest size applicable in 2001. In 2001 supersize weighs almost an ounce more. A McDonald’s supersize soda is almost one third larger than the large in 1999. The portion sizes are growing, along with the people who eat them excessively. Nobody cannot single blame anyone person or corporation for the obesity of America. Maybe we can prevent some of the obesity in America, if we learn to control the amount we eat.

The authors have several strategies to overcome  the concern that children whose school is close to a fast  food restaurant may be more prone to obesity for other  reasons. First, the authors compute whether the fast food restaurant is within 0.10, 0.25, or 0.50 miles of the  school and test whether there is a differential effect by distance. Given that there is a fast food restaurant in the general area, whether the restaurant happens to be very close to the school is arguably random and thus a good way to identify the effect of fast food access on obesity. Second, the authors control for a rich set of school and neighborhood characteristics in their analysis and allow these to vary over time. Finally, the authors estimate models relating changes in obesity to changes in access to fast food restaurants, relying on schools that gain or lose a nearby fast food restaurant during the sample period to identify the effect of fast food access on obesity. The authors estimate their models using data on all California 9th graders for the years 1999 and 2001-2007.

Worldwide, a billion people are now overweight or obese, including 22 million children under the age of 5. Obesity and ills linked to it, including heart disease and high blood pressure, have joined the World Health Organization’s list of the Top 10 global health risks. Rates of obesity are going up in developing countries as well as industrialized ones, with the greatest increases taking place in the last 10 years. In the United States, 64.5 percent of adults and 15 percent of children ages 6 to 19 are overweight. So, the public is justifiably frustrated. They’ve been given data that will improve their health risks, but not reduce their bulge. But, even with the drastic reduction in standards, designed to engage the masses in the fight against immobility and obesity, “only 1 in 5 US adults get the recommended amount of physical activity, according to a 1996 Surgeon General’s report.” It is clear that we need to start taking responsibility for the food we put in our mouths and the amount of calories we burn through exercise. Many are blaming the food pyramid for the current state of obesity. Everywhere you look a writer, newscaster or diet guru is taking a shot at the current Food Guide Pyramid that was designed in 1992 by the USDA. “The pyramid is a disaster, says K. Dun Gifford of Oldways, a non-profit think tank based in Boston. The American epidemic of obesity is the proof that it hasn’t worked. Period. Amen.”

Over the past thirty years the commonness of obesity and obesity related disease in the U.S. has increased quickly. An amount of children ages 6-19 classified as obese has tripled from 5% to 17 % since the early 1970’s. So has the number of fast food restaurants.

“Choosing regular-size portions is a very good idea,” Ms. Fenster says. If you go for the super sizes each time, you’re probably taking on a super-size portion of fat and calories. There is also the sodium (salt) to think about. The extra-large burgers and fries and other fast-food servings are far larger than a standard serving size as set by the U.S. government. Check the Food Guide Pyramid for children from the American Dietetic Association to help you learn what serving sizes are. The sizes of servings you get in most restaurants actually equal several “normal” servings. Ms. Fenster suggests that if you really are hungry, you can add foods to those regular-size portions. “A salad with low-fat dressing, a glass of low-fat milk, or a baked potato with chili or broccoli and cheese give us more to eat and some important nutrients, too,” says Ms. Fenster.

I think this is great advice because a regular fast-food meal is low in certain nutrients people need. Almost 90 percent of Americans need to improve their diets, according to the new 2000 Dietary Guidelines for Americans report. For example, fewer than 20 percent meet the daily recommendation for fruits. More than half the U.S. population is overweight according to the National Institutes of Health,. Fast food is not entirely to blame. People simply don’t get the regular exercise they need to burn off the calories they take in. That leads to weight gain and even obesity (weighing 20 percent or more above ideal weight). Serving size certainly can play a part in the overweight picture. Every fast-food place has a larger-size option. If you order a combo or value meal, you get a big burger or sandwich, large-size fries, and a large drink. For a few more pennies, you can get a bigger portion of fries or a huge drink. That may a good deal for your wallet, but it’s not so good for your waist. The extra-big sizes go beyond what is considered a normal-size serving. Here, for example, are the normal size servings of food set by the U.S. federal government. Fast-food restaurants aren’t the only places where you should watch serving sizes. Many restaurants have large portions that are often equal to two to five normal-size servings of foods.

To conclude I believe that humans are the main reason for obesity. It is the owner’s fault of the intake they have. Fast food restaurants are only there to advertise their product. You have the power to say no or use portion sizes. It is also a fact of laziness. If you’re not willing to exercise and eat, it is your body you are destroying. Don’t blame fast food restaurants with what your actions.

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