Do you suffer from being fat? Are you worried about your health? Are you aware of the disadvantage of the fast food, but can’t stop eating it? Don’t worry; I used to suffer the same dilemma. My body was weak before and my grandmother thought I do not get enough nutrition. I decided to buy what they call “healthy food” but that which they refer as “healthy” was actually fast food. Since I was young, my grandma used to buy fast food from KFC for me. She thought my body will get nourished and I’ll get stronger, if I eat more meat. Unfortunately, contrary to what she wishes, my condition was becoming worse.
I grew fatter and even weaker. I realized that I am already suffering from a condition called Obesity. Obesity is defined as an excess of body fat mass. Body mass index (BMI) as accepted internationally, has become the standard for the assessment of obesity in adults and correlates with body fat. According to World Health Organization (WHO), obesity and overweight have in the last decade become a global problem. In 2005 approximately 1. 6 billion adults 15 years old and above were overweight, at least 400 million adults were obese and at least 20 million children under the age of 5 years were overweight.
It is believed that if the current trends continue, approximately 2. 3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese by year 2015. (WHO 18) What causes obesity? Generally, it is caused by eating too much food. But fast food chains’ involvement in the increasing rate of obesity and overweight in the United States have become an issue that seeks further explanation. Studies show that people who always eat food served in fast food chains consumed more fats, sugars and carbohydrates. Obviously, they eat fewer fruits and non-starchy vegetables than those who are not fast food customers.
They also consumed 186 more daily calories, which usually results to six pounds gain every year. (Holguin 5) Researchers have found that there is a high risk of obesity and larger body mass index (BMIs) in families that choose fast food as a meal three or more times a week. BMI is a formula that doctors use to determine how exactly overweight a person is. An indication of obesity is 30 or more BMI, while a number between 25 and 30 is a sign that the person is overweight. In the United States and in other developed countries, obesity is now among the most widespread medical problems affecting children and adolescents.
In the United States in particular, where burgers became a basic commodity, 15% of adolescents (aged 12-19 years) and children (aged 6-11 years) are obese and the figures are expected to increase according to the American Obesity Association. Childhood obesity is reported as one of the greatest health challenges in the US. (Obesity in Children… 1) Actually I used to be a 230 lbs man. As I remember it, I started gaining uncontrollable weight since I was 4 years old. Obesity made my life hard and I even don’t want to communicate with others. What was worse, obesity in China has become a serious problem.
The British Medical Journal reported in 2006 reported that one fifth of the one billion overweight or obese people in the world are Chinese. China was once considered to have one of the leanest populations, but it is fast catching up with the West disturbingly in a remarkably short time. According to Hewitt, between 5% and 10% of Chinese youth are considered obese by World Health Organization Standards. Why does obesity grow faster in Chinese society? Restaurants like McDonalds, KFC and Wendy’s became prevalent everywhere in Chinese streets, in malls and even in hospitals.
Children love them and they are taken to fast food chains for daily treats and indulgence. Gradually, it becomes more likely to cause childhood obesity. As regard the adults, they go for fast food restaurants for convenience, and because they are affordable and food are indeed delicious. Although relatively low compared with the Western countries like the United States, the prevalence of obesity in China is rapidly increasing, where over half of adults are either overweight or obese. Even and especially among children, the condition is truly alarming.
China national surveys’ data on the constitution and health in school children showed that the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children aged 7-18 years increased 28 times and obesity increased four times between 1985 and 2000 (Wu 1) In front of fast food ads and restaurants that exist everywhere, what should we keep in mind? One thing fast food restaurants do to engage their customers is to target children. They make sure children are attracted by their food and at the same time can also have fun. Children rarely care about nutrition values of the foods they are eating, but mostly the tastes.
And the food always tastes good in McDonalds. One strategy that is effective to attract children was McDonald’s offered gifts for those who order a specific menu, like the “children meal” or what they call now as “the happy meal. ” Added amenities such as playground inside store provide relief to parents who could let their children play while having their meal. Apparently, most of the fast food restaurants are able to provide their customers with convenience and fun. Parents and children are all satisfied with fast food; they go to fast food restaurants more and more often.
Little they realize that gradually it will lead to obesity. This cycle seems to be simple, but the result is childhood obesity. Obesity will cause some serious diseases such as high blood pressure, coronary disease, stroke, and even some cancers. China already has a 100 million people suffering from high blood pressure and 26 million with diabetes. Fast food restaurants are being blamed because the portions they served are far larger than the recommended portion size for most foods. The cost of food is relatively low, so it makes sense for customers to buy any food they want that fits their budget.
Low price make people accustomed to the oversized portion, and think that such portions are normal. The calories found in these large servings leads to weight gain for regular fast food customers, and obesity can lead to many dangerous health problems. (Murphy 1) Fast food keeps their mouth mum of the hazardously high calorie and fat content of the food they offer. They must be blamed for the epidemic of obesity, and must take some responsibility for the dangerous products. At the same time, being overweight in public schools is awful, especially when bullies are running more and more often to their satisfaction.
An over-weight child being laughed at and bullied is so common in schools. I am lucky that people I have ever met were all kind to me, but some of my friends weren’t that luckily. Obesity surely and always leaves terrible memories and even mental health problems to the child. Parents worry about their children’s health and feelings, but they may not realize what causes the problems. The best way is, eat less junk food but more fruits and vegetables; cook for their children instead of buying foods from McDonalds; and let children leave the computers and do some exercises to live a healthy life from now on.
As the world progresses people do not have time for anything else as adults are entirely wrapped up in their jobs. Their thinking is to be successful and give their family a wealthy living. Students usually use their time attending after school classes such as martial arts, singing or dancing lessons. So where does this current lifestyle leave us with fulfilling our body with the correct nutrients? Fast, easy shopping and eating leads to slow and painful consequences. However, the reasons why adults prefer fast foods is because it is “fast”.
Because of busy schedule, people are getting tired of standing in the kitchen and cooking for a long time. Thus, fast food is a way to avoid cooking. Easy to prepare meals like French fries after work or even just go downstairs to enjoy McDonalds saves them time and effort. Fast food restaurants now offer more convenient ways for people to buy food- they can order food in the car by drive through, or even on the phone. After the meal, people could continue sitting in front of their computers or TVs and relax.
However, this provides chances for fat to grow inside their bodies. Step by step, people will become obese. Studies prove that fast food chains indeed contribute to obesity. How? Fast foods don’t provide enough nutrition that a person needs; instead, it provides sugar and high calories. According to the latest research gain 3500 calories=gain1 lbs. Compare with fast food, a healthy meal offers more nutrition and people won’t easily get obese by eating them. Another fact is, as people becoming more and more dependent on fast food, they will easily become depressed.
This often appears when they become sick because of obesity. One study found that the longer a child is overweight, the more he or she is at risk for depression and other mental health disorder. (Saletan 2) An article in WebMD website enumerated facts about the connection of fast food chains to obesity. First, proximity and accessibility of fast food chains enables people to just buy the food that they want. Fast food chains are found in malls, streets and difficult to escape from these delicious advertisements and showcases.
Secondly, fast food obesity has become a major problem in many countries with the increasing accessibility of the fast food and the high competition among the various fast food joints. Thirdly, people are mainly affected because lack of self-control, setting aside possible genetic reason for fast food obesity. Lifestyle also plays an important role in making people obese. Fourthly, people with high ambitions often are conscious or sometimes ignore their health and diet. Lastly, environment also has a great impact on the fast food obesity.
Majority of people have accepted passive fast food consumption in their life style. Few people could quit fast food even if they’re overweight already. “Most people overeat because if food is put in front of them, they’ll eat it,” says an expert who has conducted hundreds of food studies. One reason is because fast foods have attraction. “Roughly 81 per cent of the food ads are for junk food,” says Kathy Chapman, a Cancer Council nutrition expert. A research also found that the healthy promotions rated just 3 per cent compared with 48. 6 per cent of the junk food ads last year.
Billions of dollars are spent each year on fast-food advertising directed at kids, said lead author Dr. David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children’s Hospital Boston. (Masters, Clare. “$5 hard to swallow – Costly healthy eating blitz panned as waste”). In front of foods that seem to be tasty, people couldn’t be moderate in eating. Even knowing something is bad for their health; people still couldn’t quit their habits. This is why I suffered from being fat for 14 years. Tobacco is an example. This proves that more and more people are having an inactive lifestyle.
(People overeat…4) Most of the over-weight people are busy blaming obesity on fast, the government and food companies, but they should firstly examine themselves. To spend more time cooking a healthy meal and exercising is not that hard to accomplish. A responsible parent should also know how to teach their children and give them a healthy lifestyle. Every time facing the attractive fast food ads and consider about what it might cause being overweight, people could control themselves and change other people’s mind; a more active lifestyle also starts.
People eating too much fast food are most likely to become obese and depressed as well. The more we eat, the more dangerous we may be. I wasn’t aware of that until last year; I spent 4 months to loss weight. I burned 245,000 calories (70 lbs) in that period of time. The procedure is only applicable to 20 years old and there is a risk of weight loss. How did I do it? My answer is simple: In front of fast foods, we should keep in mind that they are bad for health and having an active lifestyle is much more important than just having a convenient meal.
No matter how busy one may be, health should be the major concern in life. Whatever your age, may be a child, teen, or adult, it is a fact that frequent fast food eaters are more susceptible to obesity. Studies have proven a link between fast food and weight gain. The popularity of fast food chains coincides with the rapid rise in obesity over the last 3 decades. In many countries and in the United States, child and adult obesity have reached epidemic proportions. It has been a common question now to ask “Does fast food cause obesity? ” Well, it probably isn’t the only cause.
But people who choose fast food as a meal three or more times a week do run a higher risk of obesity. As studied by Robert Jeffrey (2006), eating at “fast food” restaurants was positively associated with having children, a high fat diet and Body Mass Index (BMI). Negatively, it is associated with vegetable consumption and physical activity. It is most likely to be obese those children and adult who tend to be near fast food chains. Obesity may lead to numerous health problems. This includes diabetes, severe cardiac problems and various other health problems.
Regular consumption of unhealthy food according to scientists and doctors, and reduced physical activity result in obesity. Many eastern countries are now dealing with this problem about obesity, along with other developed countries. Eastern countries like China are also affected by fast food obesity because of neglecting the traditional and healthy diet. Remember that we only have one life so treasure it and take good care of it. Most importantly, do not depend on fast food to avoid obesity and have a better life. References Canadian Press.
People overeat because of convenience: expert. Oct. 19, 2006 Retrieved 30 May 2010 from http://www. ctv. ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20061019/obese_061019 /20061019/ Holguin, Jaime. Fast Food Linked To Child Obesity: Study: One-Third In U. S. At Risk Of Obesity. January 5, 2003. CBS News. com retrieved 30 May 2010. Murphy, Jenny. The Super-sizing of America: Are Fast Food Chains to Blame for the Nation’s Obesity? Speakerout. com, June 15, 2000 retrieved 29 May 2010 from http://www. speakout. com/activism/issue_briefs/1333b-1. html WebMD.
Obesity in Children 2010 Retrieved 29 May 2010 from http://www. emedicinehealth. com/obesity_in_children/article_em. htm WHO-MONICA Project. Risk factors. Int J Epidemiol 1989;18(suppl 1): S46-55. Wu, Yangfeng. Overweight and Obesity in China. British Medical Journal August 2006. Saletan, William Banning fast food in poor neighborhoods. Food Apartheid July 31, 2008 retrieved 30 May 2010 from http://www. slate. com/id/2196397. Jeffrey, Robert. Are fast food restaurants an environmental risk factor for obesity? 2006 January 25 BioMed Central Ltd. 1479-5868-3-2. pp2.