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The Practice of Fast Food in the United States Essay

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Updated: Mar 15th, 2020

Fast food refers to food sold in restaurants with preheated or precooked ingredients. In the United States, the common components of a typical fast food include hamburgers, French fries, fried potatoes, pizza, chicken and soft drinks. Fast foods have a short preparation time as well as the time taken to serve the customers. The practice of fast food consumption has grown quickly in the United States.

It sprang up in the 1970s and experienced a dramatic growth within a short period of just ten years since in 1970, there were only thirty thousand outlets of fast foods, but this number rose to 140000 outlets in ten years. The estimations show that in the year 2002, there were up to 222000 outlets (Schlosser, 2000).

The fast-food outlets in the United States generated sales of above one 125 billion dollars. In 2002, this figure increased by about four percent attaining a new value of up to 130 billion dollars. The consumption of fast foods in this region is common among adolescents. A survey finding shows that adolescents visit fast food outlets twice oftener in a period of one week (Schlosser, 2000).

A survey conducted on 4746 students within the age bracket of eleven to eighteen years, found out that up to seventy-five percent of this part of the population visited fast food outlets for their meals before the survey week. This survey concluded that fast food consumption entails a large intake of junk foods as well as a reduction in the intake of healthy foods. Fast foods are rich in energy and fats (Paeratakul, 2003).

The practice of fast food preparation originated from California way back in the year 1940 and then spread rapidly to all parts of the United States. The culture was easily embraced due to the fast means of preparation. The foods were also easy to pack for later consumption, thus the name ‘take away’.

Research shows that because of the heavy consumption of fast food obesity and related diseases have been on the rise and the most affected groups of people are those with long term consumption records of fast foods. Surveys have indicated that school children suffer obesity problems at early stages of their lives.

Whereas, pregnant women who consume fast foods experience an abnormal increase in weight due to excess fat consumption. Another effect noticed is that fast food outlets have experienced rapid growth within a short period, while other restaurants have been growing at a retarded speed (Smucker, 2012).

There has been a lot of criticism of fast foods from medical experts. This has made the government control the rate of consumption of such foods as well as their contents during preparation. The restaurants supplying such foods are to prepare it in a way that they contain less fat and calories.

Consumption of natural fruit drinks is on the rise as opposed to soft drinks. Soft drink companies like Coca Cola are heavily taxed to discourage their operations in the United States. Instead, natural fruit drinks companies are increasing their production.

The government has assisted companies in attracting high consumption of fruits instead of the soft drinks by offering incentives and tax cuts to such companies. This is aimed at reducing the risk of obesity due to excessive fats and calories being consumed by the general public especially adolescents (Paddock, 2013).

References

Paddock, C. (2013, February 22). Fast Food Accounts for More Than 11% Of Americans’ Daily Calories. Medical News Today. Retrieved from, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/256732.php

Paeratakul, S., Ferdinand, D.P., Champagne, C.M., Ryan, D.H., & Bray, G.A. (2003). Fast-food consumption among US adults and children: dietary and nutrient intake profile. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103(10), 1332-1338.

Schlosser, E. (2000, February 12). The Dark Side of the American Meal. New York Times, 19-20.

Smucker, M., C. (2012, June 28). Want to lose weight? Eliminate fast food. Natural News. Retrieved from, http://www.naturalnews.com/036319_fast_food_weight_loss_gain.html

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IvyPanda. 2020. "The Practice of Fast Food in the United States." March 15, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-practice-of-fast-food-in-the-united-states/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Practice of Fast Food in the United States'. 15 March.

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