Fast Food is Destroying America
Last week I assigned an argumentative essay to my 4th and 5th grade students. The students were to choose a topic they were passionate about and write something that would make the reader ponder and/or consider your side of the argument. One particular student of mine decided to take on Fast Food and our Obesity epidemic, blaming the fast food giants for contributing to this problem. I thought it was so well-written for a 5th grader, that I just had to share it.
Fast Food is Destroying America
Steak and Steak, Wendy’s, Arby’s, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Hardee’s, Jack in the Box, Rally’s, Culver’s, KFC, White Castle, and Long John Silver’s… what do these all have in common? Well besides the fact that you can find AT LEAST one of each in my town, they are all considered fast food restaurants AND they all have Drive-Through’s that make getting their hot, greasy food even faster and more convenient than before! Did you know that fast food is one of the leading causes of obesity (Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser)? Obesity is the second leading cause of death in America falling just behind heart disease (Center for Disease Control). We need to stop this mayhem! We Americans should limit the amount of fatty fast foods we consume every day. Two out of three adults are already obese or overweight (obesitycampaign.org/research.asp). And it doesn’t help that 1 in 4 Americans are eating fast food every single day (jacn.org). Fast food is making our nation fatter and fatter every day.
Fast food is making our country fat. About 66% of adults are obese or overweight in America alone! And adults aren’t the only people that are obese. According to Kidshealth.org, 1 in 3 American children is considered overweight or obese, which is 3 times the amount of obese children there were recorded in 1963. That means there are about 12.5 million obese children in just the US alone (Center for Disease Control). Those children then have a 70-80% change of being obese adults. Obesity in America is not just a small problem, it’s a growing epidemic.
It is obvious that eating fast foods that are high in fat, sodium, and sugar can lead to obesity, but what does obesity lead to? It leads to numerous health problems. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III showed that 2/3 of adult men and women in the US diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 27 or greater, which is classified as overweight and unhealthy. Diseases like colon cancer and osteoarthritis are both caused by obesity (news-medical.net). Obesity can attribute to high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary heart disease, breast cancer, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, and stroke (Center for Disease Control). Childhood obesity can cause liver, lung, heart, and musculoskeletal complications as well (obesitycampaign.org). Fast food can definitely damage your body if you continually eat it on a regular basis.
Fast food isn’t only affecting the people that over eat it, it’s affecting you too. According to a study by the George Washington University, it costs up to $4,800 for a woman to pay for obesity and $2600 for a man. By itself, Type 2 diabetes costs $63 Billion in health care costs (getamericafit.org). Other obesity related diseases like osteoarthritis can cost the health care system roughly $17.2 Billion annually. Companies lose roughly $39 million in lost workdays related to obesity illnesses every year.
While there are many contributors of obesity such as lack of physical activity, too much time spent in front of the TV or computer, and eating of junk food – a huge culprit to our epidemic is the availability of fast food. You can find a fast food joint around every corner. In fact, there is a stretch of road in my community that has a Jack in the Box, Arby’s, Hardee’s, McDonald’s, and a drive-through Pizza Hut all on the same street (side-by-side)! Fast food is cheap and convenient. You can pick up a 20-piece chicken nugget for $5 at McDonald’s, pick up 4 drinks for a buck a piece, and slap on some value fries, and you can feed a family of four for under $15! You can’t even purchase enough lean protein and vegetables to feed a family of four at the grocery store! Fast food restaurants are promoting unhealthy living habits which is precisely why it is destroying America one waistline at a time.