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Fast Food Consumption in the United States

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Fast food consumption in the United States has steadily increased over the past 30 years. During this same period of time, obesity has doubled in this nation. The increase in eating this type offood is causing an increase in illnesses such as high blood pressure, kidney and liver disease, heart problems, arthritis and diabetes that develop later in life.

In the book, Fast Food Nation, the author points out "In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food; in 2000, they spent more than $110 billion." (Schlosser, 2001, p. 3) However, children are now developing these same illnesses at an alarming rate and statistics have proven that obesity is the underlying issue and has been linked to the consumption of fastfood.

Growing up in the '60s and '70s was a time when meals were prepared by the mothers in the home. Parents prepared meals including fresh vegetables, protein and either rice or potatoes. Children ate a hearty breakfast at home, went off to school with a bag lunch (which included a sandwich, bag of chips and an apple) in hand and were given milk and graham crackers as an afternoon snack. For those who were fortunate to buy lunch, the cafeteria staff cooked in the kitchen and at lunch time served up spoonfuls of hot home-made spaghetti and a vegetable.

Fast forward to the late '80s and '90s when the last of the baby boomers entered the work force and began having families. The reality at this time was that both parents had to work fulltime outside of the home and long hours were spent commuting to work and pursuing the American dream of homeownership. Women who joined the work force in record numbers were motivated by the need to pay the bills, which left a need for cooking, cleaning and child care.

By this time, the fast food giants were on the fast track to supply the demand for a convenient alternative to preparation of meals in the home. Along with the convenience also came an inexpensive way to feed the family; however, the real cost would...



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