Fast food in America

Because they are simple to prepare and package, fast food has drawn the attention of many people all over the globe. Many quick food chains frequently use aggressive tactics to entice customers, most notably through advertising. The intense rivalry in the fast food industry forces various businesses to use strict methods to draw in and keep more devoted clients. The majority of people in the contemporary world have access to televisions, making it one of the platforms that these businesses frequently use to reach a wider customer base. Fast food restaurants now serve about 50 million customers each day in the United States thanks to these ads. As a result, there are many fast food chains and franchises despite the common belief that fast food meals are the ultimate cause of the rising problem of obesity among kids and young adults in the USA. Fast food meals have a vast impact on the health of children and young adults because of the increasing market by various brands such as KFC, Burger King, Taco Bell as well as McDonald’s. This paper explores whether people should or should not eat fast food meals because of the impacts fast food may have on the health of individuals.


Fast food meals have dominated the food industry in the USA. The proportion of fast food companies in the 1970s compared to the current market indicates a vast increase in the consumption of these meals (Harris, Jennifer et al. 218). On that note, the number of people exposed to fast food has also increased over the period. The reason why fast food restaurants have increased in popularity is because of the numerous advantages fast food offers to consumers. Some of the benefits of fast food include availability of healthy choices, budget friendliness, saving time, convenience, accessibility as well as presence of a large variety of food choices. However, some scholars have argued that the rise consumption of fast foods in the US is accompanied by the increasing cases of obesity among the young population. According to Harris et al, since the early 1970s, the proportion of the young population between the age of five and nineteen considered as overweight have increased approximately thrice from the estimated 6% in the 1970s to roughly 20% in the current days (219). The growth of fast food industries have attracted different views by different scholars on the validity of such meals and their overall impact on the young population in the United States.

Position A

Calories and childhood obesity

The fast food corporations such as KFC and McDonald’s have invested on television commercials to increase and retain their market base. The adverts pose considerable threats to children who are often glued to the televisions. In most of these adverts, children are used to convey the message regarding a particular product; thus, enticing a similar group. The consistent utilization of children in these commercials attracts other kids which makes them believe that fast foods are better for their lives as opposed to healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits.

Fast foods contain too much calories approximated to be more than 1500. The nutritional guideline in America recommends that an individual should take approximately 1500-1800 calories per day (Sallis, James and Glanz. 1075). Going by this statistics, it means that an individual consumes 1500 calories per meal when they take fast foods which is likely to increase because children tend to take fast food meals frequently on a daily basis. As a result, individuals who consume fast foods may have large amount of calories in their bodies. The ultimate impact of too much calorie in the body may lead to obesity among the Americans young populace exposed to fast foods.

Supply of fast foods

The widespread supply of fast food in America exposes individuals to fast foods. Children spend better part of their time in school with their peers than the time they spend at home with their parents. This makes them to be more at risk of involving in similar activities to those of their friends. Therefore, there is a likelihood that children would be carrying fast foods to school, or they would prefer buying fast foods at school. Even if a child were not used to taking fast food at home, it would be hard for them to avoid taking them at school (Bowman, Shanthy et al 113). Therefore, supply of fast foods in schools and other educational institutions poses a major risk to childhood obesity.

It is worth noting that continuous intake of the unhealthy foods in schools leads to obesity that exposes one to chronic ailments such as heart conditions and diabetes. In that regard, the more the kids are exposed to these fast food supplies, the higher the chances of getting an addiction to the fast foods and the subsequent gaining of weight that can lead to chronic diseases. Many proponents of healthy diet have advocated for institutional meal plans for students to discourage children from carrying fast foods to schools. This is because of the possible effects that fast foods have on the health of the children.

The percentage of sodium and cholesterol in fast foods

Fast foods such as readily prepared snacks exposes individuals to chronic diseases as compared to vegetables. Human body requires minimum amount of sodium and a regulated amount of cholesterol. Increase in consumption of fast food results to individuals’ liver storing large amounts of fat and their blood absorbs higher percentage of sodium. When there are excess fats in the body, there is a high possibility that the body might store excess of bad cholesterol, which is a life threat. More than enough deposits of fats around the heart may lead to constriction of the heart muscles, hence resulting to heart attack or heart failure (Sallis, James and Glanz 108). This assertion means that if a child feeds on fast foods, then there is the possibility that he or she will have a heart failure or heart attack in the future, which might lead to death.

Also, in as much as minerals are nutritionally required in the body, their excessive intake is harmful. Minerals such as calcium and sodium are essential for strong bones and blood clotting process. However, the amount of minerals that are compounded in the fast food spices puts the lives of American children at risk (Biro, Frank and Wien 115). Excessive consumption of such components makes the blood to get used to high levels of salts, which ultimately affects ionic balance in the blood. The ionic imbalance directly affects the functions of the pituitary glands, hence making the blood to loose balance of its pressure (Biro, Frank and Wien 115). High blood pressure or hypertension has also been a lifestyle threat that if not managed adequately might have serious implications.

Despite the arguments that fast food restaurants sells unhealthy food that has negative impact on the lives of the consumers, fast food meals are very popular in the United States. The fast foods have gained popularity because of some of the advantages it offers to the consumers. Position B of this argument explores the benefits of fast food such as availability of healthy choices, economical, saving time and accessibility.

Position B

Variety of choices to consumers

Fast food restaurants offer a variety of healthy choices on the menu. Individuals are not limited to meals that contain too much calories such as fries and burgers since meals such as chicken and salad are available. The shift is a result people being more conscious about their health, hence, increase in the demand for healthy food options. Owing to the demand of healthy food choices all fast food restaurants tend to offer a variety of foods including healthy alternatives (Sallis, James and Glanz. 1075). Therefore, people have the power to avoid particular types of food with high calories as well as eliminate unhealthy ingredients in their meals by requesting customized orders (Chou, Shin-Yi, Rashad, and Grossman 608). For example, an individual can request low-fat milk or fresh juices while avoiding sugary drinks.

Moreover, most of the chain fast food restaurants have been providing calorie counts on the menu boards as stipulated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act established in 2010 (Sallis, James and Glanz. 1075). Presence of calories counts on the menus has enabled people to make decisions on the most appropriate food as well as the amount to consume based on the number of calories. Furthermore, another advantage of fast food restaurants is that the majority of them offer a list of nutritional facts in pamphlets as well as in posters which are then displayed to aid people in making healthy food choices.

Saves Time

Arguably, since individuals have extremely busy lives and routines, it is quite hard to take some time out purposely to prepare food at home. In this regard, the supply of fast food is appropriate in different institutions such as educational institutions because it enables individuals to save up on time because there exists little or no waiting time for food to be prepared. Also, most of the fast food restaurants tend to have a drive through which to a great extent allows customers to make and receive their orders more quickly (Chou, Shin-Yi, Rashad, and Grossman 608). As a result children do not have to waste more time walking from school to home for lunch. When compared to children going home for lunch, kids often save up to one hour while ordering and eating fast foods. Time saved is therefore spent on improving the children’s performance in school.

The increased supply of fast foods also offers various food choices that are exciting since there are numerous flavors from different cultures. Presence of various food choices in fast food enables individuals to experience different cultures across the world (Bowman, Shanthy et al 113). Children are in good position to learn different cultures from various supplies of fast foods from different cultures such as Chinese and Middle Eastern. These fast foods supplied in schools are cheaper and healthy to children because most of the fast food from different countries contain low calories and have crucial nutrients (Ebbeling, Cara, Pawlak, and Ludwig 479).

Convenience and arrays of varieties

The problems of high blood pressure and heart failures do not result from consumption of fast foods. In this regard, it is important for individuals to opt for healthy food choices from the fast food restaurants such as fresh juices and low fat milk. In the modern world, consumption of fast food by children as well as young adults is part of daily dietary patterns which include few vegetables, large amounts of processed foods, and sugar-sweetened beverages usually fostered by schools, caregivers as well as parents at home (Anderson, Patricia and Butcher 23). Therefore, fast food meals do not amount to excess minerals and cholesterol in the body.

Moreover, the presence of high concentration of fats in the liver and high percentage of sodium being absorbed in the blood is not to blame on fast food. However, it is a problem of cyberspace. Children often sit idle on the internet after eating junk food and fails to carry out vigorous exercise to get rid of excessive mineral and fats that can lead to heart failure and obesity. If only individuals could resort to eating healthy fast food and engaging in thorough physical activity and exercise, there will be reduced incidents chronic diseases in the United States.


Position A clearly points out that fast foods contain calories which makes it unhealthy for human consumption. Calories have a direct impact on the health of the US young populace. It results to too much fat in the body, thus there is need to avoid meals with high calorie count. Thus, fast foods create risks to obesity and overweight among the children and also puts people at risk of suffering from some other sister diseases to obesity such as cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. If a child starts battling obesity when he or she is still young, there are higher chances that he or she might risk contacting some lifestyle diseases related to obesity. Therefore, it would be more advisable to regulate the supply of fast foods at educational institutions, which poses a major risk to childhood obesity.

Position B of the essay points out some of the advantages of fast food that has led to its popularity in the United States. However, considering some of the advantages that fast food offer such as saving time, consumers may choose to consume fast foods because they lack time to prepare healthy meals. The first food corporations makes their products available in different varieties to attract a wider market base and not to offer healthy solutions. Besides, the issue of fast food meals being convenience does not save people from being exposed to diseases associated with unhealthy meals.

Position A is more valid because the rise in childhood obesity in the United States has risen following the increase in fast food meals. Fast food meals contain high percentages of fats, calorie, cholesterol and minerals that exposes individuals, more so the children between the ages of five and twenty. Fast foods have these substances in excess that no amount of physical exercise can break them in the human body. It is therefore appropriate to regulate the supply of fast foods in schools and other institutions to reduce exposure. The impacts of fast foods on individuals’ lives is terrific as compared to the advantages because it leads to premature deaths of the America’s young populace. Therefore, individuals should avoid fast foods and the Center for Disease Control should ensure that fast food companies adhere to measures to regulate supply and advertisements of fast foods.

Works Cited

Anderson, Patricia M., and Kristin F. Butcher. "Childhood obesity: trends and potential causes." The Future of children (2006): 19-45.

Biro, Frank M., and Michelle Wien. "Childhood obesity and adult morbidities." The American journal of clinical nutrition 91.5 (2010): 1499S-1505S.

Bowman, Shanthy A., et al. "Effects of fast-food consumption on energy intake and diet quality among children in a national household survey." Pediatrics 113.1 (2004): 112-118.

Chou, Shin-Yi, Inas Rashad, and Michael Grossman. "Fast-food restaurant advertising on television and its influence on childhood obesity." The Journal of Law and Economics 51.4 (2008): 599-618.

Ebbeling, Cara B., Dorota B. Pawlak, and David S. Ludwig. "Childhood obesity: public-health crisis, common sense cure." The lancet 360.9331 (2002): 473-482.

Harris, Jennifer L., et al. "A crisis in the marketplace: how food marketing contributes to childhood obesity and what can be done." Annual review of public health 30 (2009): 211-225.

Sallis, James F., and Karen Glanz. "The role of built environments in physical activity, eating, and obesity in childhood." The future of children (2006): 89-108.

St-Onge, Marie-Pierre, Kathleen L. Keller, and Steven B. Heymsfield. "Changes in childhood food consumption patterns: a cause for concern in light of increasing body weights." The American journal of clinical nutrition 78.6 (2003): 1068-1073.

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