Fast Food, Fat Profits: Obesity in America

Fast Food, Fat Profits: Obesity in America

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Fast Food, Fat Profits: Obesity in AmericaObesity in America has reached a crisis point. Two out of every three Americans are overweight, one out of every three is obese. One in three are expected to have diabetes by 2050.

Minorities have been even more profoundly affected. African-Americans have a 50 per cent higher prevalence of obesity and Hispanics 25 per cent higher when compared with whites.

How did the situation get so out of hand? Josh Rushing explores the world of cheap food for Americans living at the margins.

What opportunities do people have to eat healthy? Who is responsible for food deserts and processed food in American schools?

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gracejoubarne461654805
gracejoubarne461654805
1 year ago

Is the reason so many are hooked on junk food because most contain aborted human fetal cells for flavoring?

Maybe it's time to look into what you are putting into your mouth and what atrocities you are encouraging by being wilful ignorant...maybe.

Ron Swanson
Ron Swanson
2 years ago

The only person responsible for you being overweight is YOU. YOU put that food into your mouth. YOU chose not to exercise. Do not blame big corporations, the government, or anyone else. Do not make excuses. I can go to the supermarket and buy rice, noodles, and vegetables for the same cost as a Big Mac. People choose the Big Mac because they are too lazy too cook and want instant gratification of a high fat meal, all of which shows laziness and a lack of self-control. Encouraging them to blame someone else deepens this mindset.

John
John
5 years ago

Cultures that differ from western cultures are not struggling with obeisity.
As we allow garbage to displace things that once promoted strong families and healthy endeavours we continue to degrade in many ways. If we trade hard work, learning, nurturing life and even religion for things like television, pornography, conspicous consumption and drugs we will ultimately become weaker in every way. You must ask why we encouraged from a tender age to fall into traps like dept, obeisity and addiction. If you dont think we are encouraged then please show us where we are discouraged. Discouraged for the good of mankind.

BJ
BJ
6 years ago

Well I don't think the government should have any business in what we eat. Bluntly I enjoy fast foods and comfort foods, and no one is going to force me to eat nasty green salads, healthy foods, and go on ridiculous diet and exercise programs. Honestly foods that taste good probably are bad for you and foods and taste nasty are supposedly are healthy. The government should stop telling us what we can eat and how much. I'm a bit overweight, but so what. If I die sooner, all the better, at least I will have enjoyed the things I eat.

Malati Maligi
Malati Maligi
10 years ago

In India fast food have not reached rural areas,In Urban areas fast food is popular in upper middle , and rich young population.

Jess
Jess
10 years ago

At least where i live (canada), fast food is NOT cheap at all! A mcdonalds meal is expensive, and it only feeds one person! You can purchase WAY more at the grocery store, but people always pull this "it is cheaper card", when really, it is NOT!

mycial
mycial
10 years ago

You don't have energy after eating fast foods you have stomach cramps & instant diarrhea. I had to stop all fast foods now I eat a plant base diet, skin is clear abs are firm. Hair is shinny & it grows. All the vitamins I need is located in plants, maybe once everyone two months I may eat baked chicken but only if it hasn't been treated with hormones or pesticides. The vegetables I buy come from a farmers market. I don't trust the spraying our food with toxic chemicals.

pkunzip
pkunzip
10 years ago

Luckily, fast food is f'ckn expensive in Norway. Thumbs up :P

George Alex
George Alex
11 years ago

You know why this hapens?? I tell you why , who is to blame rather than the stupid american whom knows that is bad for his health and still eat that garbage. Hope they will eat until they burst.

prodigygirl
prodigygirl
11 years ago

I am very stuned that people don't even know how to make a raw salad!!!!! taxes should be aplied to pop, chips, junk food...

durga jagannadh
durga jagannadh
11 years ago

I support eyecandy_babydoll thoughts.

eyecandy_babydoll
eyecandy_babydoll
11 years ago

Obesity rates increased dramatically from mid 1980's. Same time as highly subsidized crops like corn, soy, wheat, sugar (beets & cane) and other refined grains became more widely grown & cheaper to buy. Also vegetable oil consumption have increased hand-in-hand? since the 1980's.

These crops are subsidized by who? Tax payers money via USDA. It is USDA who designates where the subsidies go. And what does the USDA food pyramid recommend we eat majority of? Wheat, corn, soy and other refined grains. Crap which cause obesity, cancer, heart disease in animals AND humans.

So the government takes YOUR taxes to pay the growers to grow cheap crops so food companies can manufacture food products that make you fat. Even though a burger costs $1, the reality is that your taxes have already covered $15 of how much it actually costs to make one burger. Vegetables and fruits aren't as expensive if people realize the true value of food.

Kalt Thorne
Kalt Thorne
11 years ago

Now, I'm no vegan, but I cook almost all of my meals these days. If I'm not cooking from scratch, I look very closely on the labels to see what is in it. I feel like the only person holding everyone up at the grocery because I'm the one standing in aisles determining calories/contents/etc and serving sizes.

I have been on the other extreme, however. I used to eat fast food under the assumption that it was cheaper and faster. It certainly was the latter, but it was not the former at all. I can survive (contented and full, by the way) on $15 a week. If you eat all of your meals at a fast food place these days, you'll be lucky to spend that in one day.
I only ate two meals a day back then and yet I had no idea I was taking in so many calories. I ate the 'meals' so I figured they were properly portioned... and yet my weight was getting crazy. I weighed over 200lbs at only 5'6, and before that I was always a skinny type! Today, I'm happy to say that I'm only 150lbs and my weight is still going down at a steady rate -just- by not eating fast food any more.

I really think there's something in that food that makes you want to consume more and more- both in the sense of more fast food (like a craving) and a feeling of need to consume a greater quantity of food in general, too.

All the sugar and crap in it makes you more and more hungry and you don't understand why you are no longer getting full like you used to. Breaking the habit was harder than quitting smoking, too. For a while, it was all I wanted and craved eating, but now I can't even stand smelling the garbage. I smell it passing by on my way uptown and it just smells... almost like disguised chemicals. There's something to the smell of it that now (over a year since I finally kicked the habit) I can pick up that I never could while I was eating it. It does NOT smell like real food at all!

I honestly feel like there's something more malicious than just cheapness being done to this "food" that is being kept hush-hush. It's just like Big Tobacco of yesteryear and their cigarettes. no one wants to be the knife to the throat of such a booming business. Not while our economy crumbles around us.

Monique Pigeon
Monique Pigeon
11 years ago

I don't understand this whole, fast food is cheap thing. I get that, but I became a vegan, eat a ton of food, losing weight, and it cost me hardly any money. People, it can be done.

Morgann Leach
Morgann Leach
11 years ago

It's actually all of the sugar and corn products put in food. I believe GMO's are actually a big part as well. They are substantially less nutritious than organic foods. Genetics may play a role in the SHAPE of your body but not in obesity. Obesity is caused by poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. My entire family is either obese or close to it except me. I watch what I eat and enjoy an active lifestyle. My BMI is at a a healthy 20 or so. How is it that genetics effects everyone in my family except me?

toddy
toddy
11 years ago

You are what you eat, but genetics will play a role.

Chris Bezuidenhout
Chris Bezuidenhout
11 years ago

Sugar is the big problem, all the food contains lots of sugar even the the bread products is sweet, I'm in the USA now for three weeks and could not find a bread or bun that taste like bread, it all taste like cake, SWEET. Have they never taste real bread?

Murphy Paz
Murphy Paz
11 years ago

Ha I don't think she can run at all, much less eat at the same time. This is pretty sad. I'm glad my parents educated my siblings and I early on about the fast food industries and the importance of organic fruits and veggies.

Renae1982
Renae1982
11 years ago

Wow food desserts just would not happen in my country (New Zealand). It is actually criminal that there are no fresh fruit and vege shops and butchers on every block. The size of the takeaway meals is disgusting, I couldn't believe it, YUCK!!! The amount of artificial food that can be found in your stores is also quite literally disgusting. Your country really does need to do something about this and I bet it's effecting the mental health of your people. My son changes after having sweets and artificial food. We have a healthy food policy in most schools in NZ and I think it reflects with our education statistics. Food, nutrition is what keeps us alive at a cellular level, you start ******* with that and you **** with generations. America needs to do something about this, the rest of the world do not live like this.

Lewis Rose
Lewis Rose
11 years ago

When are he going to learn that everyone we as people are going to do whatever we what to do and no amount of education will change it. Really should it?! Or should we mind our own business and only worry about ourselves and let others worry about themselves?

sknb
sknb
11 years ago

I just watched a doc on here called The Ghost in Your Genes, that talks about epigenetics. This is a field of genetics that show that people can change their own genetics and the genetics they pass on to their children based on environmental factors.

The scientists showed that in mice exposed to BPA ( a kind of very common plastic found in bottled water and other things that 95% of Americans are estimated to have in their system) the epigenetics of the mice exposed to BPA were altered in a way that led their offspring to become obese and have diabetes and cancer.

I think that it is important to talk about what effects environments have on people and their genes in relationship to how overweight they are.

Also, I think an important way to avoid suffering in children is to stop the bullying of overweight and obese children.

Vlatko, please, please, please find some docs like this with Spanish subtitles, my students NEED to be exposed to this kind of wonderful knowledge. You rock, thank you for all you do!

truthdigging
truthdigging
12 years ago

Funny how some people are against regulating and welfare but instead of government telling them what to do they get these bloated corporations calling the shots and getting big handouts and their ok with that. At least the government, when uncorrupted by corpocracy, looks after you and not their personal profits.
I can't imagine the burden of having to travel long distances to shop in a proper food store. Hard to believe those kinds of neighbourhoods exist. I have 3 kids so a lot of time and money is spent shopping groceries. We have at least eight good food stores within a 2-3 km radius, half just a 10-15 min walk away (yes, walking. I don't even have a driver's licence and never will!). Here in Finland kids eat decent healthy free schoolmeals. You go to school to learn, so learning should extend to eating and nutrition as well. There are two food choices: meatdish or vegetarian. In daycare there is no choice except if you have allergies or there are religious reasons. The point is to introduce foods to kids, and it often takes many tries to develop a taste for something. Kids often take to foods easier in daycare than at home, as they are influenced by their peers. This has happened to all my kids. It is so helpful! Some parents lament that their kids are fat because they don't like vegetables and they just prefer junk food. Well, they would make a lot of poor choices if it was always up to them. It takes some effort to introduce some foods but if you honestly try it is surprising how they sometimes choose the carrot over the cookie.

MoolaMails
MoolaMails
12 years ago

We are in a sad state of affairs. When I left highschool they had started serving Taco Bell and Pizza Hut as options in the cafeteria, needless to say I loved the Idea then, but now I think it is the worst thing I could imagine for my own kids. This is a good short documentary by the way which I viewed yesterday.

Caitlyn_p.m.e
Caitlyn_p.m.e
12 years ago

The school I attend recently put in the "healthy choice" system in, and it's hardly changed. They still offer pizza, fries, pizza wraps, pop and other relatively unhealthy food options- but it's made more "healthy". The fries are baked. Everything is baked. The pops are now diet instead of normal pop. The cheese is mozzarella rather than processed. They are small changes, but overall, has it done anything? Sure it's cut back in small changes and I agree that it's a good start, but where is the fruit? The salad bars? The sad fact is, people at my school have noticed and they don't agree with it. They think the fries are too crunchy, and that diet pop just isn't the same. The veggies are way to pricey and the granola bars make them feel childish. Suddenly, the cause that the healthy act was suppose to endure, has backfired. Now most students eat out to the pizza store five minutes away, or would rather walk 15 minutes to McDonalds because it's "better". I appreciate the change the system has tried to make, but students aren't informed enough to truly appreciate the attempt. Not just that, but once students understand more, they can help point out the flaws in it and help progress it so that everyone can enjoy it without any issues.

Yusiley S
Yusiley S
12 years ago

*sighs* The bottom line is people are going to eat what they want to eat and not just what they could afford. >_> These fast food eaters could eat healthy. They could order the side salad instead of the fries. They could have their burgers without all the extra sauce or bacon. They could find alternatives in the menu and still stick to that dollar per item value meal. I for one order the 6 piece nuggets with apple dippers (minus the sauce) at McDonald's and it's all under 300 calories.

Also fast food isn't all that cheap. It's cheap in the sense that you don't need to prepare it or cook it, but it's not cheap in the sense of cost efficiency. For me, it's just a treat, not food. Real food can actually be cheaper than the candy and sodas shown in this documentary. To the lady who stated how she stretches her $5. I could do way better than her. With $5 I could have three healthy meals for about 3 to 4 days. I could buy the whole wheat Healthy Life bread for $3 and a pack of Winn Dixie turkey ham for $1.19. Plus I'll still have left over money to get a gallon of water that is $0.49. There are also soups that are $1.50 each. There are soups made by Healthy Heart that have no salt added at all. They have just 30mg of sodium per cup. Eating healthy is cheaper in the long run. People are just too lazy to prepare their own foods and want the government, and everyone else, to do everything for them (makes you wanna punch them ... HARD...in the face for being such overgrown children). >_> Liberty has a cost... it's called being responsible for yourself. Once you stop taking responsibility for yourself and your actions (allowing others to do everything for you), you are a SLAVE!

I also find it amusing that those poor neighborhoods tend to have people who are whiling to pay over $150 for a pair of Nike snickers, but wouldn't bother spending $40 on foods that are good for them. The priorities of poor and low social economic people are messed up.

Eric Babcock
Eric Babcock
12 years ago

I love how the miss information about calories and saturated fat are still rampant, even in documentaries such as this. The obesity, and cardiovascular problems we have today are derived from neither calories or saturated fat, but sugar, carbohydrates, starch. Essentially Bread, Sugar and Trans fat oils.

Peter Takapuna
Peter Takapuna
12 years ago

My nana went to disneyland in America and she when she came back to our country she said "I've never seen so many fat people in my life". Also, Food guy Justin is hot

Bealtaine Cottage
Bealtaine Cottage
12 years ago

Great documentary! Enlightening, not surprising...insidious how the big food corporations have so much control. I have read recently that US citizens have no clear food information regarding GM foodstuffs. Stuffs being the operative word!
I'm in awe of norlavine...so cool with her comments...way to go!

Bobs
Bobs
12 years ago

Instead of their burgers I'm gonna buy some their stocks!

norlavine
norlavine
12 years ago

@robertallen1
Yes to all of that.

zaphodity
zaphodity
12 years ago

...It's bullshit..How much does 2 large pizzas, garlic bread, chicken wings and a lasagne cost ? about $30-35 delivered ? I could walk into a supermarket and spend $15 and make a feed that would give Jamie Oliver a boner.

norlavine
norlavine
12 years ago

@robertallen1
Kangaroos are still plentiful here! One can see greys on the outskirts of Sydney coming out of bushland, mainly at night, crossing roads at high speed. There are signs to 'watch out' for them and motorists DO take notice.
The red kangaroo is the relatively endangered one, smaller in numbers than the grey and mainly inhabiting the more remote 'red centre' of Australia.
They have survived longer than any other species of marsupial on the planet,
so I imagine it would take a major environmental or biological event to take them to the edge of extinction.

zaphodity
zaphodity
12 years ago

Kangaroo tail soup ROCKS !...Don't even get me started on KOALAS !

zaphodity
zaphodity
12 years ago

I couldn't handle living in a place where junk food's the main option, I gotta have my own home cooked feeds man.

norlavine
norlavine
12 years ago

@robertallen1
Availability of alternatives, by the people, for the people.By tradition, franchised junk food isn't really an accepted part of the culture.Choice is what it's all about. We are the govt here (for now anyway). I am guessing the govt isn't going to force any fast food franchises to lower their prices in the foreseeable future.
Regulation of prices here mainly concerns alcohol, tobacco, energy and petrol consumption.
I don't know the conversion rate but the US dollar is greater by at least 1/3 of the AU$ .
Why not Google it yourself ?
On wildlife conservation:Unfortunately, some of the 'wildlife' were human beings called Aborigines,they didn't fare so well. Kangaroos are still very high in numbers (fortunately) - may I suggest they're best served with mashed potato, green beans, juniper berry sauce and washed down with a fine red.

norlavine
norlavine
12 years ago

@robertallen1
There are no regulations at the moment and we are number 11 on the worldwide 'takeaway consumers' list, but whole foods are definitely in the reach of everyone here. It would be less expensive here to buy groceries that could last a week than to go to MacDonalds and purchase 3-4 meals only. That weekly cost (including drinks and chips extra) would be approx AU$36. For this amount, one person could make 3 meals a day,for 7 days, which would include protein, veg and dairy. You can buy butter here for less than $1.40 for 250g so if it's fried that's required - no problem.

Alex Scott
Alex Scott
12 years ago

I work at basically minimum wage, my girlfriend works for minimum wage, we have an apartment, have internet, smoke, go to bars on a regular basis and were still able to buy healthy food. its not a question of money, its a question of self restraint. how you spend your money. obviously i can save some money going to fast food and be able to buy my self the new iPhone or a new iPod, PC, mac, whatever expensive thing i want to buy, but i don't because it is or what i though before watching the documentary, common sense not to eat fast food all the time.

norlavine
norlavine
12 years ago

Had no idea how comparatively inexpensive fast and fatty food was in the USA. No wonder there are so many depressed and obese Americans - it's the quality, not the quantity! In Australia it's the opposite, as 'fast' foods are quite expensive. The average low income earner couldn't afford burgers etc every day - more like once a fortnight perhaps. With bad food and no real and comprehensive health care to speak of for the average person, looks like the USA is set to become the richest third world country on the planet.

dewflirt
dewflirt
12 years ago

For home ec this term my 13 yo daughter has so far had to make curry with a jar of curry sauce, cheesy mash and cheese pasties with ready roll pastry. Why not teach them how to make pastry,it's not hard? We made some at home for her to take in. With most homes having both parents working full time meals are often hurried. Kids are less involved in the prep and a lot of food is now bought (at greater cost) pre peeled, chopped and oven ready. When I first left home at 15 I moved in with a friend of 19 and had to teach her how to scramble eggs. Her Mum had never let her help with dinner. If your going to eat microwave meals you might as well eat KFC.

over the edge
over the edge
12 years ago

while i agree that the fast food companies market this food very well and it is cheap and quick. i believe some of the blame lies with the people buying this crap. i spend a decent amount of time on the road and many of the people who work with that eat at these places i do not. a little willpower and planning goes a long way. packing a lunch and home cooked meals can be as inexpensive or less costly than fast food. we have become a society that lays blame anywhere but at our own feet. now before someone says many people have no choice i will point out that they showed closed grocery stores so people chose not to go there and the store went out of business. before we ask the government to regulate these chains why don't we first try to regulate ourselves.

Javed060
Javed060
12 years ago

The problem is we consider ourselves very aware and intelligent, the truth is companies, all companies, with the help of media are misleading us. Most of the food available outside our homes is very costly and also unhealthy. But it has been made fashionable to eat pre-cooked food. So we are both poorer and sick. I think it would take another decade to understand this conspiracy.

gardenhappy
gardenhappy
12 years ago

Religion and anti-religion is the exercise of people who do absolutely nothing to improve what actually exists in this world. Since I spend most of my time growing my own food, I yawn at the waste of time that occurred here in this discussion on soul/non-soul.

What is relevant here is for everyone to read the book called "Wheat Belly," where selection over the centuries from wild wheat has produced a wheat the grows fat abdomens and ruins lives. Just look at any American over 40 and observe the wide girths. This wheat passes the blood/brain barrier and is addictive. Since not eating any wheat, I am going from 205 lb to now 155 lb since Oct 2011. I have more energy than when I was in my 20s.

Evidence also shows that many inner city communities are now beginning to grow gardens on abandoned lots because there are no major grocery chains anywhere near and the convenience stores offering only beer and snack foods. Also time constraints force many economically-deprived families of the time to do other than rush through a drive-through fast-food window.

It has nothing to do with the hint of genetic superiority in the racist comments by some.

bionara
bionara
12 years ago

On a bit of a tangent: I was recently in Washington DC, and noticed they have a number of 'garden spaces', ie small areas just outside buildings etc that are dedicated to growing organic food for the homeless (or for planting native plants/trees to attract native wildlife). Seemed a really good initiative!

fhade
fhade
12 years ago

Just don't eat once a week, that is even cheaper and even more healthy than healthy food.

robertallen1
robertallen1
12 years ago

Why wasn't someone currently representing the fast food industry interviewed? And if no such representative could be found, why wasn't it stated. This whole documentary is too amateurish, too one-sided and too narrow in its coverage to be effective. All in all, a poor job.

KsDevil
KsDevil
12 years ago

The only way to fix the problem is to go around the problem with a working solution. The system has gotten people to become satisfied with what they have become accustomed to. No amount of suggestion will break that. Any solution has to provide all the thinking and the doing for the people to lead them in a better nutritious direction. It takes a lot of planning and action to perform such a task which is likely to experience resistance from the people who currently profit on the deal.

Robyn318
Robyn318
12 years ago

No matter what you say about this matter it is going to be highly controversial. Some say it is choice or availability and others will say ignorance and still others affordability. But I see it as a failure of Government to perform the function for which it was sanctioned.

A country can be seen as a form of business where through division of labor, services are performed, goods are produced, safety, health & security is assured, profits are made and everyone involved benefits…provided that is everyone does their part with the best interest of the country and its citizens at the forefront. As the country grows, so does the government; new agencies are created to oversee concerns and problems that occur as a natural result of it.

In any well run business, there is a delicate balance between quality, production and safety; and if any one of them is given too much authority over the other two, the business, in the long term, will suffer. We see the same thing happening in this country, where production (profits) trumps safety and quality. The USDA and the Food & Drug Administration have given more authority to corporate profit than to food quality and food safety; the result being highly processed, highly refined and often overcooked foods that have almost no nutritive value.

There is an epidemic in this country of degenerative joint disorders, cardiovascular disease, liver, kidney and intestinal disorders, hypertension, attention deficit disorders and food allergies that all can be traced back to a high fat, high calorie, high salt diet that is also low in vitamins, mineral and essential enzymes: Which is exactly what is being offered by Corporate America and approved (often by default) by those government agencies that were intended to protect against this sort of thing.

As a result of this imbalance the country is suffering, just as a business would, because the obese and malady-ridden population that is now the majority, is less productive and more prone to absenteeism. And currently, because of this diet related health epidemic, small business and even some larger ones, cannot afford to pay for employee health insurance. Until this disservice to the American people is addressed by the appropriate government agencies, I don’t see an end to this downward health spiral.

dmxi
dmxi
12 years ago

the body always follows the soul .simple fact.