Fat Food Nation
The population in the U.S. seems to have an ever-expanding waistline. Recent data shows that 58 million Americans are overweight, 40 million are obese, and 3 million are morbidly obese. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in America. In a country where places like Starbucks and McDonalds are daily stops for many, statistics like these shouldn’t be surprising, or should they? Fast food is a quick target when discussing causes for obesity, but just how bad could it really be?
Not all fast food is unhealthy, but most of it is. While healthier options are available, the fast foods most people order are high in fat, calories, sugar and sodium, and seriously lacking in nutritional value. A popular fast food order, consisting of a Big Mac, large fries, and a large Coke contains nearly ¾ of a person’s recommended daily calories. Additionally, generous quantities of preservatives like sodium nitrite are commonly found in processed meats. While having your meat preserved is probably a good thing, sodium nitrite is a carcinogen that is toxic in large amounts.
Researchers from UC Berkeley and Columbia University have found a direct link between obesity and proximity to fast food restaurants. With fast food restaurants being absolutely everywhere, it’s not surprising that a new study found that 1 in 5 American four-year-olds is obese! That’s more than half a million four-year-olds in the country right now that are considered obese. Diets high in fats, calories, and carbohydrates are largely to blame for this alarming statistic. If the diets of these children don’t change, an extremely unhealthy generation will develop with a very high risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, cancers, joint diseases and other problems associated with obesity.
Though difficult, it is possible to eat a nutritional meal at a fast food restaurant. However, even “healthy” food options can be unhealthy if you eat too much of them. Eating healthy portions at fast food restaurants can be an extremely difficult task with the prevalence of super-sized portions.
Of course, fast food isn’t entirely to blame for the ballooning weight problem of the country. Genetics, exercise, and household nutrition are also major contributors to an individual’s weight. Overall, healthy choices can dramatically improve the obesity problem in America. Regular exercise, a nutritional diet at home, and smart choices from the fast food menus can help the country start shedding its many extra pounds, and moving towards a healthier population.