Term Paper: Causes for the Popularity of Fast Food Restaurants

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¶ … Causes for the Popularity of Fast Food Restaurants

The popularity of fast food restaurants: a cause and effect essay of epic proportions

Despite the warnings highlighted in Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary "Supersize Me," fast food chain stores continue to proliferate all over America. Why are people not more afraid of the effects of fast food, despite the fact that fast food turned the documentary director's liver to pate when he consumed an all McDonald's diet for thirty days? It can be summed up in three easy words -- tasty convenient, and cheap. Fast food is all three. Yet the causes of fast food's popularity are having a deadly effect upon America, causing waistlines to expand and the population afflicted with the psychological and physical harms of obesity to increase, year by year.

Why do we find fast food tasty? As pointed out in Spurlock's documentary, fast food, from hamburgers to pizza to soda, has a high fat, sodium and sugar content. Humans are biologically hard-wired to prefer foods that are calorie dense. This is how the human race survived famines when food was scarce. However, today, food is abundant, especially foods containing hunger spiking high fructose corn syrup. Also, there are fewer opportunities to burn off the calories consumed during the day. There is no need to go hunt for food. Instead, a consumer can just pull up to the drive-thru and order a full meal. There is no need to go through the time-consuming preparation of a meal, or even walk to the supermarket in a suburb populated with plenty of SUVs and few sidewalks. Thousands of glorious, greasy calories can be eaten in mere minutes.

The convenience factor of fast food is also an undeniable selling point. According to Eric Schlosser: "Women entered the workforce in record numbers," in the 1970s, "often motivated less by feminism than by a need to help pay the bills....the entry of women into the nation's workforce has greatly increased demand for the types of services that housewives traditionally performed: cooking, cleaning and child care," as families have less time to devote to the domestic arts (Schlosser, 1998). After a hard day at work, a mother can provide her family with a hot meal from a fast food chain, guilt-free. She can also assuage some of her children's incessant nagging, given the amount of fast food advertising that is targeted towards children.

Fast food is, after all 'kid's food,' hamburgers and French fries, accompanied by toys and cartoon logos. Simply to avoid being nagged by their children, many parents will bend and allow their child to have a Happy Meal. For health-conscious parents, the token overpriced salad on the menu takes away their potential objections (perhaps) to having to eat the stuff themselves. An adult alone might content him or herself with a can of tuna and a salad for a quick, convenient meal, but an eight-year-old is unlikely to find such a dinner palatable.

The price for this relief from a nagging child is high. "Since 1980, the proportion of obese children in the United States has more than doubled to 16%, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" (Barboza, 2002). Children can hardly be blamed for how easy it is to be taken in by the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Causes for the Popularity of Fast Food Restaurants.  (2007, April 4).  Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/causes-popularity-fast-food-restaurants/5253825

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