At some point and time, we have all stopped at a fast food chain to buy a quick bite to eat rather it’s a cheeseburger and fries or a box of pizza. Among those who eat fast food are young adults and those with higher incomes, which increases the risk of health-related issues. In the article I chose by The New York Times, it talks about a program that monitors health and nutritional status of Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C) released data from 2013 to 2016 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
During this survey they analyzed physical examinations and in-person interviews to gather dietary information over the years. In the survey fast food was defined as any item of food that was bought from a fast food/pizza establishment. The findings are that men are more likely to grab fast food for lunch rather than women, while women tend to buy it to snack on. The survey also showed that adults who ate fast food increased when their income was above the federal poverty line, as they consumed fast food daily.
The C.D.C stated that “American adults consume more than 11 percent of their daily calories from fast food. Fast food is generally high in calories, fat and sodium, a combination that increases the risk for cardiovascular and other diseases.” (Bakalar, 2018) A staff dietitian, Lis Weinandy, who was not involved in the making of the report was alarmed at the rate of 20-39-year old’s who was consuming fast food, she states that by consuming fast food during those ages will set you up for health issues later down the road. It will also set up unhealth eating habits if that group was to have kids.
When we talk about public health, we are talking about the health of a population as a whole. When you present information such as fast food and the health factors related to eating fast food is alarming. There is always a growing body of evidence that shows the exposure to fast food and obesity with other health issues. Obesity is linked to long term heath conditions; the rise of obesity be can be connected to the increase of calorie intake that American Adults consume on a daily.
These shifts in dietary have concerns on Public heath, diet and physical inactivity are common causes of preventable death and disability. Even though individuals have some control over their diet, the food environment has introduced an increase amount of more flavorful palatable foods high in sugar, fat, and salt.
Fast food is destroying our population, you can’t escape fast food chains. Fast food is very common in today’s day and age, but these foods are more destructive for our health and society. To my surprise, the higher your income the more you tend to eat fast food daily, according to the CDC website “The percentage of adults who consumed fast food increased with higher income families. Overall, 31.7% for lower-income (less than or equal to of the federal poverty level), 36.4% of middle-income, and 42.0% of higher-income adults consumed fast food on a given day.” We all know that fast food can harm your physical health like diabetes or obesity, but these foods can also alter your brain or mental health as well.
A study published in Circulation found that when you consume fast food at least once per week can increase the risk of developing coronary heart diseases by 20%, with the percentage raising to over 50% for anyone who consumes fast food more than three times a week.
Most people are very well aware that fast food is not good for you, so why do most Americans still choose to consume it? I think most of us still chose to consume it because it’s always convenient, cheap, socially acceptable to buy it and simply its addictive. Now is the time for the Public Health field to educate and inform our society about nutrition and how fast food is really killing us slowly.
Health behavior can change, especially for preventable diseases here in the United States. According to our book we use in class, “The most difficult behaviors to change are those that have physiological component such as obesity or an addictive element” (Riegelman, 2016, p. 87) On a interpersonal level, a theory based model that our book talks about states that “ Health promotion and health education efforts set out to raise awareness of health issues among individuals” (Riegelman, 2016, P.88) Interpersonal theories can help focus on an individual to help remold a behavior through knowledge.
Public Health could also use the social cognitive theory (Learning Theory), this will focus on the interaction between the individuals and their social systems. If we give our society the knowledge on proper food nutrients, then maybe there wouldn’t be such a high percentage of us eating fast food and we could decrease the amount of health-related issues it has caused.
Overall, the amount of fast food you chose to eat will result in the way your health will function later on in life. We should always look at the overall health habits we have to avoid these diseases being brought upon from fast food. We should as a society become more educated on the negative effects of consuming fast food. Healthy eating starts off with at least one healthy and nutrient base meal a day.