headshot.jpeg Research

    Obesity is an abnormal accumulation of body fat, usually 20% or more over an individuals ideal body weight. Obesity is associated with increased risk of illmess, disability, and death. While obeisty is considered a serious health problem for those who become obese, obesity in America has become very prevalent. Before the 1900's, being fat was considered as a sign of wealth, becuase it indicated that one could afford to eat heavily. As this signification suppressed, so did the positive image of being over weight. In the year of 1960, only around 13.3% of Americans were considered to be obese (Public Health Service 2006). If this statement is accuarate, it leaves you to wonder, why, when, and how did obesity sky rocket in American society today?

     Well, we could blame it on many things, but to get a true understanding we have to take a look at the fact that Americans have come up with so many ways to get things done easier. Our daily lives required so much more hard labor in the days of the 50's and 60's. These included things such as cooking from scratch, washing dishes by hand, walking to school and/or work, and having to communicate face to face. Walking was also alot more commom and jobs required more physical activity. This meant that Americans burned more calories thorughout the day. Therefore eating a lot didnt have as much of a negative effect. Now that we have an idea of where the origin of obesity rooted from, the next question to ask would be when did the rates of obesity begin to climb in America?   

     Obesity rates rose hysterically between the years of 1980 and 2009 (CDC/National Center for Health Statistics). The percentage of children who become obese before they even reach age six, is unacceptable, being a staggering 10.4% throughout the United States (National Center for Health Stastistics 2006). Though 10.4% might not seem like a huge number, you have to take in the fact that this is childrem who are already 20% over weight before they even began grade school. It is my assumption that fast food consumption in America is where we need to look. We all know that fast food is high in fats, sugar, salt, and calories. With that being the case, you can infer that anyone who consumes fast food products on the regular basis will ultimetely gain weight. While these rates of obesity have steadily increased over the past 30 years, so has the number of fast food restaurants in America. The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults known as the CARDIA recently  did a study monitoring the eating habits, recreation, and activity levels of 3,021 young adults over a 15 year period. It was recorded that," individuals who atefast food two or more times a week experienced an average weight gain of 10 pounds compared to individuals who ate fast food less than once a week." The study suggested that fast food goes beyond obesity, being that fast food consumption on the regular basis increases the risk of insulin resistance, and type two diabetes (CARDIA 2010). Theses statistics show that fast food consuption is one of the main causes of obesity in American society today.

While fast food is sure to be one of the main causes of obesity in America, another question to ask is,how has fast food become so prevalent in the diet of the average American. This question can be answered when we take a look at the implementation of fast food over the past 30 years. Fast food began as a few modest hot dog stands and hamburger vendors in southern California (Schlosser 2004). Fast food, today can  be purchased at movie threatres, airports, schools, trains, airplanes, zoo's, shopping malls, and etc. It seems that there arent many places in America today where we cant find fast food. According to the book, "Fast Food Nation," by Eric Schlosser in 1970, "Americans spent about 6 billion dollars a year on fast food." As of 2000 they spent more than 110 billion dollars a yaer on fast food (Schlosser 2005).


CDC/National Center For Health Statistics

Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults.  (2010). Conorary artery risk development in young adults. Retrieved
July 26. 2010, from http://www.cardia.dopm.uab.edu/index.htm.

Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation. The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. 1st Harper Perennial ed. New York, NY: Harper Perennial 2005

Schlosser, Eric. "Fast Food Nation." The Ecologist 2004: 40-1. ProQuest. Web. 12 Apr. 2013

National Center for Health Statistics. Chartbook on trends in the Health of Americans.  Health, United States, 2006. Hyattsville, MD: Public Health Service. 2006 as quoted in National Institutes of Health. Win-Statistics. 12 Oct 2007