The Fatty Truth – Fast Foods in the US
Obesity is a prevalent problem in the United States, and is believed to contribute to over 300,000 deaths each year in this country alone. It can lead to health problems as varied as diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, and heart attacks, so it is no wonder that fatty foods, such as those served at fast food restaurants, have attracted the attention of health officials. At least four million Americans work in the fast food industry, feeding about a quarter of the population from 300,000 restaurants each day. Fast food is big business; last year, the industry earned $178 billion.
Even the average cuisine at fast food restaurants provides a disproportionate amount of calories, fat, and sodium when compared to the recommended daily allowance, or RDA. A Big Mac value meal contains 1,230 calories, compared to an RDA of 2,000, 48 grams of fat, and 1,330 mg of sodium. The RDA for fat and sodium is 65 g and 2,300 mg, respectively. Meals from Burger King, Jack in the Box, and Wendy’s all have similar nutritional values. The worst culprit for unhealthy fast food meals may be a Triple Baconator Meal from Wendy’s, however, with 2,170 calories, 116 g fat, and 2,950 mg sodium, all of which exceed their RDAs. A large Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger meal from Jack in the Box approaches these extreme levels, with over 2,000 calories, 94 g fat, and 2,982 mg sodium.
Despite complaints that these restaurants contribute to American obesity, the number of fast food locations has doubled since they first became popular in the 1970′s. Correspondingly, children now eat more than five times the amount of fast food that they did before 1970, leading to increased health problems. Obesity in children has more than tripled since 1980, and diabetes has doubled since 2000. Clearly, this problem will only continue to increase without intervention.
After reading about obesity, you may want to do your part in improving America’s health. One great way to accomplish this is with a career as a medical assistant. If you are interested in this field, look up information on medical assistant programs and medical assistant colleges to get started on your academic journey.
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