Work on your third and fourth body paragraphs or Sections 3 and 4 (Paragraph 3 and 4) of your essay.

* Your introduction was paragraph 1.

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Remember, cite and include a piece of research.

Topic sentence – Main idea

I. Source

C. Cite

E. Explanation or discussion


Closing sentence


Topic sentence – Main idea

Explanation or discussion of topic sentence idea

I. Source

C. Cite

E. Explanation or discussion


Closing sentence


* You may continue working on your paragraphs but only the first body paragraph is due on September 5th.



Running Head: Fast food a problem in America

“Food industry should eliminate the production of fast food because a fast food diet leads to preventable and expensive health issues, such as, obesity.”

Alian Castelnau Sanchez

International Institute of Health Care Professionals

Rising rates of overweight and obesity pose a major challenge to the food industry. The industry has the opportunity to take positive steps to become part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, which is the increasing perception. By 1999-2000 almost two-thirds of American adults were overweight or obese. The percentage of overweight children and adolescents rose by about three-fold between 1980 and 2000. Overweight and obesity are now considered a serious health care crisis, with increased risk of many serious diseases. An obese person in America incurs an average of $1,429 more in medical expenses annually. Approximately $147 billion is spent in added medical expenses per year within the United States

The dramatic growth in obesity and overweight among Americans has become a hot topic, receiving widespread attention in the media. To name just a few examples, the August 19, 2002 cover of U.S. News and World Report proclaimed in big letters, “Super-Size America: How Our Way of Life is Killing Us”. The title of an October 21, 2002 article in Business Week was “Why We’re So Fat”. The cover of Fortune on January 21, 2003 asked, “Is Fat the Next Tobacco?” With 64.5 percent of American adults overweight or obese, 30.5 percent actually obese, and 15 percent of children and adolescents obese in 1999-2000, the problem is now considered a major health crisis, and is being referred to as an epidemic by many in the medical community. All ages, racial and ethnic groups have seen increases in obesity and overweight. ( Leveille, Gilbert, 2013) Food industry should eliminate the production of fast food because a fast food diet leads to preventable and expensive health issues, such as, obesity


On one level solving the obesity crisis is very simple. People need to eat less and/or engage in more physical activity. (CDC, NCCDHP, 2012) However, this is in reality very difficult for most people to do since diet and activity are deeply embedded in their lifestyle and reflect the culture, they live in. Few medical treatment programs that focus on behavioral change can claim long term success in changing fundamental food and exercise habits. Typically, success with dieting is only short term and not permanent, with the lost weight eventually all being regained. All too frequently people go through cycles of weight gain and dieting, while they continue to gain weight over time. At the current time, experts suggest there are no pharmaceutical drugs on the horizon which are likely to make a major contribution to solving the obesity problem. And physicians recommend the surgical procedures that are available only for extreme cases because of the cost and risks involved, which brings us back to behavior change. If most people are to succeed at achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, they need to have much stronger support from the health and food industries, government and their communities. A healthier cultural attitude towards food will have to be developed, as well as an environment that is more conducive to exercise and physical activity. William Dietz of the CDC argues that American cities must be redesigned more for pedestrians than automobiles. It will certainly not be easily given the complexity of the underlying factors and the dimensions of the changes which will likely be required, but a start must be made given the grave health risks involved and the rising proportion of the population affected. A key component of this effort will be getting the message to the public that still generally sees extra weight as a concern related to physical appearance, not a serious risk to health. (Michael J. Thun, 2013.)

“The Surgeon General’s Call To Action” recommends that people determine their BMI and start on a gradual weight loss program if it is too high. The program would involve following healthy eating guidelines and sensible portion sizes, as well as increasing physical activity and reducing time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching television. For many people, walking more will be the easiest way to become more physically active. Experts who have thought carefully about realistic approaches tend to focus on the following areas. One frequently mentioned is improving the food options and increasing physical activities for school children. Industry is being called on to provide more healthy product options, better consumer guidance, and more socially responsible advertising and marketing. Communal programs that encourage physical activity and improved food habits need to be expanded and strengthened, hopefully, with food industry support, as well as that from health care providers and government institutions at various levels. Since the prevalence of obesity, although rising, is still much lower in Europe and in other cultures, there may be much that can be learned from their food and activity attitudes and habits. (Wolf, Anne and G. Colditz, 1998.)

Changing Business Strategies

McDonald’s introduced the Mclean hamburger in 1991, which had only 10 grams of fat and 320 calories. Burger King in 1990 put Weight Watchers fettuccine and boiled chicken on the menu with 298 calories and 11 grams of fat. Taco Bell launched its Border Light products in 1995. All these products have since been discontinued. When the fast food industry is criticized for their offerings, the response is frequently that when they offered low-fat, low-calorie options they simply did not sell well enough to keep on the menu. Many packaged food companies have experienced the same kinds of lack of consumer interest in such products. However, the obesity crisis has become critical and the food industry will have to help contribute to the solution by offering appealing new, low-fat, low-calorie choices and make a real commitment to marketing them. In addition, the industry needs to move towards sensible portion sizes to help people eat less, as well
as much better guidance on nutrition content and serving size.

Many companies are beginning to respond to this challenge. Kraft Foods, the largest food manufacturer, announced in July 2003 that it intended to reduce the portion sizes of single-serving packages, eliminate all in-school marketing, cut the fat and calories in many products, and establish a high-level nutrition advisory council, as well as several other initiatives. The announcement received considerable applause, but was also met with skepticism by some nutrition and food industry experts. As a New York Times article stated, “Now comes the hard part. How does the maker of Oreo cookies, Velveeta cheese, Tombstone Pizza and Oscar Mayer wieners actually help trim waistlines? And can a food giant profit from selling people on the idea of eating less?”60 The Subway Chain has generated favorable publicity by offering “healthful alternatives to traditional
fatty fast food, many of which have less than six grams of fat or less”, according to its website. Frito-Lay, the snack food division of PepsiCo, has initiated a major effort to develop lower-fat, lower calorie snack products. They are being advised by two well-known weight-control doctors.

And many other companies are moving in similar directions. Now the real challenge is to get enough customers buying these products to make them a permanent part of their menus and product lines. With that in mind, companies need to not only develop the products, but commit to innovative marketing campaigns that will help them succeed with the consumer. In some cases, new products may not even be required, but redirected promotional efforts are. Most teenagers, especially boys, although heavy drinkers of soft drinks, do not drink diet sodas. Marketing efforts directed toward shifting their consumption to non-caloric drinks would make a real contribution.

However, the changes in promotion need to be far broader than simply successfully marketing new “healthier” products. A lot of television ads for food products have people engaged in strictly sedentary activities, other than simply eating meals, like sitting watching a football game on TV. A subtle message can be sent if rather than showing a bunch of young men watching a football game on TV, they are taking a break from actually playing football themselves to eat a snack or have something to drink. Government and others trying to promote healthier diets and more physical activity also really need the assistance of the advertising industry, since most such efforts have not
been very skillful or effective. One area in which the food industry might well face regulation if they do not move towards self-regulation is the kinds of products and marketing efforts directed at young children. The industry can develop a set of standards for marketing to young children, much as the movie industry did with their rating system on the suitability of films for young people.

When nutrition labeling was mandated for food products in the early 1990s, restaurants and other food service providers were exempted. Most fast food outlets have information in a pamphlet on nutrition content behind the counter and on their websites. Many people are eating at new fast casual chains, such as Baja Fresh and Panera, assuming their products are healthier than the older chains. However, Baja’s grilled chicken salad and Panera’s ham and swiss sandwich actually have more calories than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Most customers would probably be very surprised to learn this. Overall, a much better job needs to be done communicating nutrient content information to consumers. Again, if the industry does not act, the result may be further government regulation. The Hilton Hotel chain, at least in Europe, is providing cards to their guests with guidance on low fat and low calorie, hi-energy, high fiber, low cholesterol, as well as “Big Time!” items on their breakfast menus. There are some examples of offering more sensible portion sizes. Red Lobster, a casual sitdown restaurant chain, has started to offer half-portions at a lower price for some of its entrees. Something other restaurants also do, but needs to become a much more widespread practice. When Starbuck’s opened a coffee outlet in Vienna, Austria the muffins they offered were significantly smaller than in the United States, with only half the sugar. Many packaged products, such as potato chips, sold as snacks in vending machines and at stores, which many consumers assume are a single serving, actually contain several servings. If the industry does not act, eventually it may be required to put the total number of calories in the package in big numbers on the label. More generally, the food industry needs to play a central role in convincing typical American consumers that “less can be more”, when it comes to eating. (OECD), 2012)

Looking ahead

The challenge posed by overweight and obesity to our society cannot be ignored. The situation is only likely to get worse if an aggressive effort is not made to address it. James Hall, an expert in the area and a leader of Colorado On the Move and now America On the Move, has predicted if the current trends are not changed that the portion of the U.S. population that is overweight or obese will reach 75 percent by the end of this decade. Moreover, new medical evidence is regularly being released on the serious harmful effects of overweight and obesity on health.

Making significant progress will be difficult, since individuals must make fundamental changes in their eating and activity habits. It would seem both unjustified and unproductive to focus blame exclusively on the food industry. No specific food is unhealthy eaten in moderation. Only an overall diet and lifestyle can be considered more, or less, healthy. The underlying causes are complex and reflect the American lifestyle as we know it. Curiously, even though studies suggest additional television viewing is associated with increased obesity, no one is yet filing lawsuits against the TV networks or cable channels. The food industry will have to be part of the solution though, hopefully by cooperating in the effort and taking voluntary actions. Otherwise, if the industry takes a defensive, antagonistic posture, the end result is likely to be more government
regulation and intervention. (Winslow, Ron and Peter Landers, 2012)

Combating obesity is one area in which we may be able to learn a considerable amount from the eating and daily activity habits of people in other countries and cultures, especially Europe. It must be admitted that academics who criticize aspects of American life and suggest we do things more like the Europeans can be tiresome. However, although obesity is increasing in Europe and becoming a worldwide problem, as discussed earlier, the proportion of people who are obese in countries like France and Italy are still substantially lower than in the United States. In these nations, although automobile ownership is widespread, most people do more walking in their daily lives than we do. Walking seems to be the key since it does not appear to be true that more
European adults go to the gym or engage in specific exercise activities than Americans.

Perhaps more importantly, many of the Italians and French still have an attitude towards food that emphasizes quality, not quantity. This is reflected in their shock at the portion sizes in many American restaurants when they visit the United States. Some would say that people such as the French and the Italians actually enjoy their food more, but worry about it less than we do.


A change in attitude towards “less can be more” must become popular in the United States, if major progress is to be made against the obesity epidemic. Significantly, people in Europe actually spend a larger portion of their household budgets on food. “A less can be more attitude” that emphasized the sensory quality of food might actually mean that Americans would spend more on food, not less.

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