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Fast Food And Obesity Essay

2224 words - 9 pages

Did you know that between 1973 and today, obesity rates have sky-rocketed from 13% to 35% of the population in the United States?[1] In other words, our nation is seriously growing- in more than one way. And with this growing epidemic comes serious health problems. Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and certain cancers. This epidemic is like a waving red flag and it's no wonder the government feels the need to step in to find causes and solutions. Many people hold fast food restaurants responsible. Fast food restaurants are certainly a part of the epidemic, though for several reasons. The convenience and affordability make fast ...view middle of the document...

After all, what could sound more convenient to a person in a rush than that 60-second cheeseburger? That 30 second search to find the fast food joint, one may answer. In Don't Blame the Eater, David Zinczenko writes on how he used to be a fast-food patron. For example, he says, “Drive down any road in America, and I guarantee you'll see one of our country's more than 13,00 McDonald's restaurants. Now, drive back up the block and try to find someplace to buy a grapefruit.” (392). Zinczenko proves how easy and convenient it is to find junk food rather than health food. Fast food joints are located almost everywhere which certainly contributes to the reason why it's so convenient. Zinczenko also adds, “Lunch and dinner, for me, was a daily choice between McDonald's, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken or Pizza hut. Then and now, these were the only available options for an American kid to get an affordable meal.” (392) Zinczenko conveys how susceptible young adults and teenagers are to fast food because of how readily available and at your fingertips it is. It is no surprise that young persons without a job will rely on super affordable meals. Studies have shown that teenagers are hungry after school and with their parents working late; they need to fend for themselves which leads them to the closest and most convenient fast food place.4 The fact that it is extremely cheap and close in perimeter at all times supports fast food's convenience. Adding to the problem, many on the most limited food budgets, such as those who receive food assistance dollars, live in "food deserts" – areas without grocery stores, and perhaps only a convenience store or a fast-food restaurant where they can purchase their food.[2] Most parents that support their families with an annual income of $38,000 or less are prone to turn to fast food.[3] This goes, that the parents of these families are working long hours and do not have time for anything else other than running to the nearest fast food restaurant and getting food for everyone.3 Therefore, families living under lower income circumstances usually rely on the convenience of fast food restaurants.3 All of these factors support why fast food is so convenient. They are all more of the reason why one can be further lead into a dangerous addiction with fast food.
Now that we have looked at why people resort to fast food as daily routine meals due to circumstantial reasons, let’s look at why it's physically so hard to stop. It all starts with something called the reward system. It's a system in our brains designed to “reward” us when we do things that encourage our survival. This includes primal behaviors like eating. The brain knows that when we eat, we’re doing something “right,” and releases a bunch of feel-good chemicals in the reward system, such as the neurotransmitter dopamine– interpreted by our brains as pleasure. The brain is hardwired to seek out things that release dopamine in the reward system. The...

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