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Why regular consumption of fast foods is the major cause of health

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Whyregular consumption of fast foods is the major cause of healthproblems in the United States.

Itis common knowledge that human health is a direct reflection of whatpeople eat. This means that the quality and type of food consumeddetermines the stability of human health. However, the relationshipbetween health and diet is one of the areas of study that issurrounded by varied and distinct thoughts. Some people considereating well to be vital, mildly relevant to some and mere merrimentto the majority, especially the teens. Research shows that eatinghealthy foods is an important intervention that helps in reducing alarge number of health risks (include the prevalence ofnon-communicable disease) and helps people lead healthy lives totheir old age (World Health Organization 4). Currently, the increasein the rate of consumption of fast foods and their effects on humanhealth is still controversial. The present study will address thecause and effect of this phenomenon (increase in consumption of fastfood) with a focus on fast food trends in the United States. Theregular consumption of fast foods is the major cause of healthcomplications (such as obesity and heart disease) among the people ofthe United States.


Therate of consumption of fast food in the United States has beenincreasing at an alarming rate in the recent past. Research showsthat the number of fast food outlets in the United States increasedfrom 30,000 in early 1970 to about 140,000 in early 1980s and 222,000by the year 2001 (Paeratakul 1332). The type of fast foods with ahigher rate of intake includes pizza, hamburger, vegetables, softdrinks, milk, and fruits. Although fast food restaurants havediversified the range of foods they prepare for their customers, thehigh fat content and empty calories in most of these foods is asignificant issue of concern to the stakeholders in the healthsector. In addition, the increase in the number of schools that feedstudents with fast foods is a highly debated issue. Feeding with fastfoods increases the number of Americans relying on fat and calorierich meals.

Theconsumption of fast food varies in different segments of the U.S.population. The intake of energy from food consumed at home byAmericans aged 12-18 years has been decreasing with and its partbeing taken by the intake of energy from foods consumed in fast foodrestaurants. A recent study shows that younger people are more likelyto consume fast foods more frequently than their older counterparts(Dugan 1). The study showed that 47 % of Americans aged 30-49 years,44 % of those aged 50-64 years, and 41 % of Americans aged 65 yearsand above consumes fast foods at least once in a week. The consistenttrend shows that the tendency to rely on energy intake from fastfoods is positively correlated with age. Most surprisingly, 70 % ofthe Americans who consume fast food more frequently believe that thefood is not good for human health (Dugan 1). This suggests that thereare other factors forcing people to eat fast foods apart from thehigh need for energy intake.


Theprimary cause of the high rate of increase in consumption of fastfoods in the United States is the change of lifestyle. Economichardship has subjected the American society to a busy style of life,leaving people with little time to think about their diet. Manypeople who consume fast foods regularly give four reasons for theiradoption of this behavior. First, the majority of this populationclaims that fast foods are easily accessible because of theconvenient location of fast food restaurants close to the place ofwork (Jekanowski 60). Although this is a genuine claim, the truth isthat these people are too occupied to consider the effect of emptycalories and excess fats on their health. Secondly, some regular fastfood consumers claim that these foods are cheap compared totraditional meals. However, under the theory of household productionthese people try to monetize non-market costs such as time andpersonal labor (Jekanowski 60). This means than people monetize thetime and labor that they would require preparing quality food at homeor getting it from conventional restaurants. The third group, claimthat fast food restaurant provides healthy choices. This means thatsome people believe that fast foods are good for their health.Although most of the fast food consumers cite different reasons(including convenience, availability, low prices, and caloriechoice), the busy lifestyle is the major contributing factor.

Significantchanges in the home environment have also played a role in thecurrent trend of increase in the consumption of fast foods. Some ofthe key indicators of drastic changes in the home environment withregard to consumption of fast foods include the change in the natureof the type of food supplied, reliance on foods that are obtainedaway from home, food marketing, advertising, and promotion, as wellas the increase in price sensitivity (St-Onge 1068). In addition, thechange in gender role and the increase in women’s participation inproductive labor have reduced their availability to prepare food athome, and instead buy fast foods. In essence, the regular consumersof fast foods are trying to keep pace with the present changinglifestyle where life has been exchanged with the ward fast. Thismeans that the tendency to consume fast foods coupled with all thegenuine claims raised by regular consumers fit in the modernlifestyle that is characterized by busy working schedules andeconomic hardships.


Theultimate effect of over-consumption of fast foods that are rich inempty calories and fats is poor health. Obesity and overweight aretwo health challenges that are positively associated with fast foods.The high content of fat content, especially the cholesterol, sugar,salt that is found in fast foods are the major cause of obesity Thishas contributed to the current obesity rate of 27.1 % in the UnitedStates by the year 2013 (Riffikin 1). In addition, the combination ofhigh sugar and salt contents activates dopamine, which increases thepropensity to addictive behavior. This addiction to junk foodsincreases the risk of becoming overweight or obese. The high sugarcontent in fast foods exposes their consumers to the risk ofdeveloping dental problems, especially the dental caries. The highcholesterol content is the major cause of heart disease, stroke, andhigh blood pressure (Shakiran 10). The excellent taste, look, andsmell of fast foods is achieved through addition of food colors, mostof which are known to be carcinogenic (cause cancer) and allergic(cause asthma). Regular use of fast foods leads to a series of healthproblems, some of which are long-term while others are long-term.

Metabolismof fast foods leads to production of various products that aredetrimental to human health. For example, oxidization of excesscalories results in the production of Acetyl CoA, which in turn leadsto the formation of excess cholesterol and fatty acids (Shakiran 10).This increases the risk of developing other health problems,including high blood pressure and obesity. In addition the intake ofhigh quantities of sugar found in fast foods induces the pancreas torelease large amounts of insulin in an attempt to reduce the risk ofa dangerous spike in sugar level. However, the blood sugar leveldrops suddenly after eating because fast foods contain inadequateamounts of carbohydrates and proteins. This leads to several healthcomplications, including the feeling of fatigue, craving for sugar,and grumpy. The high level of Trans fats found in most fast foodscauses heart disease. This has been positively associated with thepoor outcome of cardio-metabolism in the population of the UnitedStates. This means that fast foods can cause direct effects of humanhealth and indirect effects that occur after these foods aremetabolized.


Theregular consumption of fast foods is the major cause of healthcomplications (such as obesity and heart disease) among the people ofthe United States. At present, the high rate of consumption of fastfoods in the United States is an issue of concern. This situation hasprimarily been caused by the drastic change in lifestyle, which hasin turn subjected the people of the United States to busy ways oflife, leaving them with little time to search for or even preparehealthy meals. The major effect of this habit of consuming fast foodsis the deterioration of health following the increase in healthcomplications, including obesity, heart disease, dental problems, andhypertension among the people of the United States.


Dugan,A. Fastfood still major part of US diet.Washington, DC: Gallup, 2014. Web.

Jekanowski,D., Brinkley, K. and Eales, J. “Convenience, accessibility, and thedemand for fast food”. Journalof Agricultural and Resource Economics26-1 (2001): 58-74. Print.

Paeratakul,S., Ferdinand, P., Champagne, M., Ryan, H. and Bray, A. “Fast-foodconsumption among US adults and children: Dietary and nutrient intakeprofile”. Journalof the American Dietetic Association103.10 (2003): 1332-1338. Print.

Riffikin,R. USobesity rates ticks up to 27.1 % in 2013.Washington, DC: Gallup, 2014. Web.

Shakiran,A. and Deepthi, R. “Fast foods and their impact on health.”Journalof Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences University1.2 (2012): 7-15.

St-Onge,M., Keller, L. and Heymsfield, B. “Changes in childhood foodconsumption patterns: A cause for concern in light of increasing bodyweight”. AmericanJournal of Clinical Nutrition78 (2003): 1068-1073. Print.

WorldHealth Organization. Globalstrategy on diet, physical activity and health.Geneva: WHO, 2004. Print.