Term Paper: Fast Food

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In his famous book Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser, directed the attention of American public to the ill effects of consuming fast food. The author explained that fast food is not only resulting in alarming rise in rate of obesity in the country, it is also causing serious social ill effects which are putting the entire nation in danger. Fast food refers to meals, which are quickly prepared, and quickly consumed however 'quick' is not always better. In fact quick may actually never be good. The nutritional value of fast food is a highly contentious issue. In families where both parents work, it is not easy to prepare meals at home and thus the entire family would opt for fast food at various jaunts. This has been putting the health of families at risk while increasing obesity rate in children and adults with equal rapidity.

The massive increase in number of fast food restaurants between 1970s and 1990s has resulted in dramatic rise in consumption of food of minimal nutritional value. It has been observed that children who consumed more fast food were at a greater risk of obesity than those who opted for home cooked meals. One report indicates: "Children who ate fast food obtained from 29% to 38% of their total energy intake from that source and ate more total fat, more saturated fat, more total carbohydrate, more added sugars, more sweetened beverages, less fluid milk, and fewer fruits and non-starchy vegetables than those who did not." ("Fast food and obesity")

Fast food has now become the staple diet of America. In fact fast food is synonymous with being American and this has had a bad effect on health of the general public. Since no fast food restaurant offers indicates nutritional value on the boxes, it is impossible to ascertain just how much saturated fat is being consumed. People were thus oblivious to the bad effects of fast food for the longest time till there was some awareness created by interest groups regarding greasy nutritional-less meals of McDonalds. Since then there has been growing concern among parents regarding the food their children consume in school canteens. In a recent attempt to attack fast food, senators and congressmen argued against consumption of fast food at cafes in schools and it was said that such food would be banned so protect youth's health.

It is also sad that the section of society hardest hit by fast food epidemic is the lower income group. Since they do not have enough money for meals, they usually depend on $2 meals from fast food jaunts and this has led to health risks. Unfortunately these people fall in the category that doesn't even qualify for Medicaid and the families that do may not always find adequate coverage for all health problems. These are the social ill effects of fast food. Apart from it being a massively contested dietary option for American public, it is also the cause of social divide and disparities in the country.

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