In the twentieth century，Fast food emerged to affect the lifestyle of all mankind. The merits of fast food as quickness, convenience, fair price, and deliciousness attract people of all ages. However, fast food also has the properties of high-sugar and high-calorie, which makes it the culprit for pervasive obesity. In the United States, for example, 15% of every American’s dietary intake comes from fast food restaurants, which is exactly the same as the growing obesity rate. Once obesity and diabetes have been considered rich diseases, but now they are rising in low-income groups due to the excessive sugar and calorie intake from fast food. Compared with these groups, the current middle class and upper class are not in such high Incidence rate of the relevant disease caused by obesity. Moreover, the area with dense fast food restaurants normally has relatively high obesity rates for local residents. The connection between these two factors is worth exploring and the problem of the growth rate of obesity is needed to be solved.
Poison wrapped in sugar-coating: Fast Food
There is a documentary called “Super Size Me” in the United States which truly records the bad impacts of fast food on a healthy person. Morgan, the male hero, is a healthy man who has no significant bad habits such as smoking and drinking and no heart disease or diabetes. Besides, all the bodily data from the medical examination is in the normal state. The experiment began with 30 days of eating only McDonald’s under the supervision of five different experts and doctors. Within 30 days, he would eat three meals a day at McDonald’s and accept all the largest meal recommended by the seller, and he could not eat anything that McDonald’s did not sell.
In the United States, the branches of McDonald’s are all over the whole country: airports, supermarkets, gas stations, and even hospitals will have their presence, which accounts for 43% volume of the fast food market. Morgan lives in New York where averagely, four McDonald’s per square mile, so he can easily buy McDonald’s by just a few steps.
On the third day of the experiment, Morgan started vomiting because of stomach discomfort and stomach pain, but Morgan became addicted to McDonald’s just three more days later. According to the nutritionist’s assessment, his daily calorie intake is twice of the normal need of the body. Morgan gained 7 pounds more weight in just five days. The reason for addiction, doctors explained, is because McDonald’s products contain a huge amount of sugar, which stimulates the exciting area of the correlative brain spots. The function theory of this addiction is just the same as heroin.
Over the 30 days, Morgan totally intakes around 27-kilogram amount of sugar, so the daily intake of sugar amount is nine times of the recommended sugar intake amount from world health organization. Correspondingly, the fast food with high calorie and high sugar brought the bodily harm to him as the following:
- Weight grew from 168 pounds to 190 pounds. 22 pounds in total.
- Acquired fatty liver.
- Reduction of athletic ability.
- Doubled rates of risk of heart attack and cardiac failure.
- Unstable emotion; depression and extreme tiredness.
- Seriously addicted to fast food and feeling headache when he stops eating.
- After the experiment, Morgan spends 14 months to recover to original weight.
Therefore, according to the results of this documentary, the harm from fast food is significantly huge for the human body.
The relation among obesity, community, and income
The government of United States plans to spend around $860 billion on health care by 2030 because of the high morbidity and mortality rates associated with obesity, which will greatly increase the medical burden. The researchers set out to analyze how rising rates of obesity are affected by society and per capita income. Although a unified conclusion has not been reached, more and more studies have shown that the distribution of different food types in communities can affect the growth rate of obesity, and there is a high incidence of obesity in areas with dense fast-food restaurants.
In addition, the location of fast food restaurants mostly concentrates in low-income communities, and the dense environment of fast food restaurants will affect people’s consuming behavior. In my opinion, low-income families pay more attention to efficient and cheap food to feed their stomach, so fast food restaurants can perfectly meet their needs. Reversely, the higher income families pay more attention to the quality of life and health, and fewer fast-food restaurants in the areas with high housing prices, so the obesity rate grows fastest among low-income families, and what used to be “the disease of the rich” becomes “the disease of the poor”.
How to improve the situation
Los Angeles issued a fast food ban in 2007, banning independent fast food restaurants in southern Los Angeles from constructing or expanding since 2008. Since most of the market is occupied by large enterprises like McDonald’s, it is not enough to forbid the establishment of independent fast food restaurants. Nevertheless, on the one hand, supermarkets and convenience stores could be promoted in low-income areas to replace most fast food restaurants. On the other hand, fast food restaurants have also begun to reform, adding vegetables and low-sugar, low-calorie items to their menus.