Thesis: Fast Food Nation: Beefing Up the World

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Fast Food Nation: Beefing Up the World

In Michael Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation he quite candidly points out that "obesity is now second only to smoking as a cause of mortality in the United States" (241). The remainder of the first part of this chapter does not get much more positive than this initial overview, offering various different explanations as to how fast food chains have changed eating habits and contributed to this phenomenon. Although it does not form one of the central themes of the book as such, it is nevertheless an important argument which is made by Schlosser within these few pages. This essay will examine other evidence which has since been published in relation to this topic, in an attempt to assess whether the prevalence of fast food restaurants in America may indeed be blamed for this obesity epidemic.

The first study included is that by Jeffery et al., which examined whether fast food restaurants could be considered an environmental risk factor for obesity. Their study specifically examined whether those living or working near to fast food establishments in Minnesota were at greater risk of obesity. The study collected information from over 1000 participants and found that eating at fast food restaurants was positively associated with BMI. This therefore supports the claim made by Schlosser that fast food is one of the "vectors" (242) of the ever increasing global obesity epidemic. Notably, the authors stated that "eating at "fast food" restaurants is associated with higher weight and less healthy eating habits" (5). The study also showed that the proximity of either home or work to fast food restaurants was not associated with either frequency of eating at those restaurants or BMI. The study did however find conversely that proximity to non-fast food restaurants was associated with frequency of eating at these 'healthier' establishments. This study therefore would indicate that fast food is associated with obesity, but that access to fast food is not necessarily associated with increased consumption, and therefore not with increased obesity.

A different type of study which was conducted by Maddock did however suggest that there was a link between access to fast food and obesity levels. The study used state-level data taken from the 2002 Behavioral Risk Factor and Surveillance Survey and the 2000 U.S. Census. This information was analyzed in terms of the spatial segregation of fast food restaurants and the population which was served by each of these restaurants. The research indicated that there was a "correlational relationship both between the number of residents per fast food restaurant and the square miles per fast food restaurants with state-level obesity prevalence" (137). This therefore supports the argument which is made by Schlosser, that the density of fast food restaurants is directly related to obesity levels. The information in the study is however slightly more scientifically justified than the evidence offered by Schlosser which is that "the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Fast Food Nation: Beefing Up the World.  (2009, January 15).  Retrieved August 20, 2019, from

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"Fast Food Nation: Beefing Up the World."  15 January 2009.  Web.  20 August 2019. <>.

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"Fast Food Nation: Beefing Up the World."  January 15, 2009.  Accessed August 20, 2019.