Does eating in “fast food” restaurants or outlets cause obesity? This question has caused controversy, since in the past years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people and families eating away from home. Due to several factors such as rushing for the job, ease of preparation, maybe good taste – more and more people flock to fast food chains.
“Fast food” outlets have been by far the most rapidly expanding sector of the food distribution system, and it has become a worldwide phenomena. Consumers patronize fast food chains and the hamburgers and French fries that they serve have been shown to be positively associated with increase in weight. Studies have likewise shown that when analyzed, the nutritional content of products sold in “fast food” restaurants are found to be high in energy density, thus promote high energy intake.
A person is classified as obese if he or she is 30 percent above the ideal weight based on height. More and more people fall in this category. The alarming thing about obesity is that children who are overweight are also diagnosed to have diabetes, sleep apnea or respiratory diseases. These were known to have afflicted the adults only in the past years.
The argument now is that the current obesity of many people which can lead to many dangerous problems maybe caused by frequenting fast food restaurants. The high caloric content per serving of the foods results to weight gain for regular customers of fast foods. It must be also observed that fast food restaurants and outlets do not inform their consumers of the high calorie and fat content of the foods they serve, which could be hazardous to the customer’s health.
Thus, if we find more and more people filing lawsuits against fast food companies, somehow, it’s reasonable. Fast food companies should take some responsibility for the products or toxic foods they offer to the victims.
“Free Choice in A Free World”
On the other hand, the available data or studies that point out that that there is a direct link or relationship between fast food use and obesity are far from conclusive. It is highly possible that the menus and prices at fast food restaurants maybe an answer to an already increasing demand an increasingly obese population rather than being a direct cause of obesity. Since more and more people are now obese which maybe caused by their lifestyle, then they tend to seek more fast food restaurants which serve large portions and cause lesser time to be served. Likewise, it may also be possible that demographics and lifestyle characteristics may have caused the problem of obesity.
I would like to believe that fast food” restaurants may not in themselves make a major independent contribution to obesity. It may also be attributed to lifestyles which are conducive to positive energy balance. Other factors such as long work hours, overlapping schedules, increasing material comforts, which cause change in lifestyles, may also be contributory factors.
Some claim that fast foods are addictive. As part of marketing strategy, the foods may indeed be very tasty causing many people to eat more of the food – but in the end, these fast foods should not be held responsible for lack of self-control on the part of the customers. If people know that the foods are bad for them, then stop. We all have free choices- and individuals have to take responsibility for that choice, not the company that provides the food.