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Issues with Being a Fast Food Nation

Updated on October 9, 2016

Do You Want Lies, I Mean Fries With That?

How We Became a Fast Food Nation

Over the last three to four decades, fast food has infiltrated every nook and cranny of American society. An industry that has begun with a handful of small hot dog and hamburger stands in the southern part of California has spread to every corner of the nation, in fact, every corner of the globe.

Today, fast food is served at airports, drive throughs, stadiums, movie theaters, malls, theme parks, K-Marts, Costcos, the list can go on and on and on. Fast food is everywhere. It is cheap, it is convenient, and we are ransacked with messages on a daily basis that fast food is our best option.

In 1970, Americans spent $6 billion on fast food, a staggering figure for that time. However, a far more staggering, and frightening figure is the over $110 billion Americans spent on fast food in 2001. Today, the fast food industry is estimated to bring in well over $500 billion annually.

Americans spend more of fast food than they spend on their education, their technology, their vehicles, and more. Americans spend more on fast food annually then they spend on books, movies, magazines, newspapers, videos, recorded music, and computer software - combined.

Fast food has become a revolutionary, destructive force in American society.

Fast Food Has Infiltrated Every Society

Fast Food's Focus - Our Children

One of the sickest parts about the fast food industry is that these companies don't target adults, they target children - innocent children.

The explosion of marketing towards children started in the 1980s, when the economy was booming and both parents had steady jobs. Because both parents were working, they started feeling guilty for the lack of time spent with their children, so they spent money on them instead.

As televisions became more popular, more and more companies started to target their advertisements towards children, knowing that they were the most susceptible. Fast food chains, in particular, spend over $5 billion a year on advertising for television alone. But their target of children extends far beyond the tv.

McDonalds currently operates more than more than 10,000 locations across the U.S. that feature playgrounds designated for children. Burger King has around 5,000 locations with playgrounds. The playgrounds bring in the children, and the children bring in the parents, who spend the money that fuels this devious industry.

Worse than the playgrounds are the "Happy Meals" offered by McDonalds. The fast food industry has forged promotional links with the nation's leading toy manufacturers so that they can give away toys with their meals. Companies track toy trends so that they can use the most popular toy amongst children to lure families into fast food chains.

The fast food industry doesn't just partner up with the countries largest toy manufacturers - they are also aligned with sports leagues and Hollywood studios. America's fast food culture has become indistinguishable from America's popular culture of its children.

The Dark Side of Fast Food

Fast Food Poll

Does Your Family Eat Fast Food? If so, How Often?

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Behind the Counter of Fast Food Chains

During a conference on foodservice equipment in 1999, top executives from some of the biggest fast food franchise got together to discuss the issues of labor shortages, employee training and kitchen technology. They discussed who the ideal employee would be for their fast food establishments, and decided that absent-minded, "ordinary" folk were the industries best target.

They made their equipment "easier to use the right way then to use the wrong way." With no concern for the well-being of their employees, these companies provide minimal training, pay close to nothing, and take advantage of America's most disadvantaged citizens.

In other mass production industries ruled by the assembly line, labor unions have gained workers higher pay and fairer treatment in the workplace. In the fast food industry, part-time jobs, high employee turnover rates and the marginal social status of their employees has made unions impossible. Because of this, managers are able to offer their employees wages that are impossible to live off of, and ignore complaints about poor working conditions.

While the fast food industry targets children as their main consumers, they target uneducated teenagers with no other options as their ideal employees.The work is boring, monotonous and gives employees time to socialize amongst themselves. The fast food franchise currently has 15 year olds working twelve hour shifts and high school sophomores working til closing (meaning they don't finish up until after 2 in the morning).

This book is extremely eye-opening, exposing the dangers of our country's heavy reliance on fast food. After reading this, I definitely think twice before makin

The Dangers of Working at a Fast Food Chain

Not only is the job of a fast food franchise employee boring and monotonous, it is also dangerous. The injury rate of teenage workers is twice as high as adult workers. More often than not, these injuries occur within the fast food industry.

The most common injuries employees experience on the job at fast food franchises include slips, falls, strains and burns. However lack of money spent on security makes these establishments prime locations for robbers. During 1999, more fast food workers were murdered in the United States than police officers.

The restaurant and fast food industries have continued to fight not only guidelines against workplace violence, but also against any regulations or enforcement from OHSA. The industry focus has always been to employee workers for the most marginal wage possible, and to create food that would net the highest profits possible.

This is an industry that cares only about their profits, and disregards their workers.

We Are a Fast Food Nation

A Nation Dominated by Scientific Socialists

The history of the twentieth century was dominated by struggle against totalitarian systems of state power. The twentyfirst century will no doubt be dominated by struggle to curtail excessive corporate power. The current issue the global economy is facing is trying to find the balance between efficiency and amorality in the market.

Over the past couple of decades, the United States has swung too far in one direction, weakening the regulations that protect workers, consumers, and the environment. The profits of the fast food industry have come at the cost of the rest of society. The collapse of communism has led to an "Americanization" of the world - a world wide economy entrenched in American engineered fast food.

The Dangers of Eating at Fast Food Chains

Fast food is meant to be convenient, not healthy. The fast food industry is one of the leading causes of the obesity epidemic in America. Since the 1960s, the obesity rate of adults in America has more than doubled, and the obesity rate of children has tripled sine the 1970s. More than half of American adults and more than a quarter of America's children are obese or overweight.

A study by the CDC recently showed that obesity is a growing problem in every single state across the country. With tens of millions of Americans classified as obese, a quarter of that population qualifies as "super-obese" - weighing at least 100 pounds more than their ideal weight.

We live in a fast paced society, and as families eat more and more meals outside of the home, they consume more calories, fat, sodium, and far fewer nutrients than they would if they ate at home.

The cost of America's obesity epidemic extends far beyond our waistlines. Currently, obesity is battling smoking to be the leading cause of death in the United States. The CDC estimates that around 500,000 Americans die every year as a result of their weight.

Fast food leads to weight gain, cholestoral problems, blood pressure issues, and more. The healthcare industry spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year dealing with obesity. Add to that the $100 million that Americans spend each year on weight loss pills, dieting fads and exercise equipment, we have become a nation addicted to food and weight.

© 2014 Kathleen Odenthal

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    • choosetolive profile image

      Ravi and Swastha 

      4 years ago from London, Canada

      Good article. True. Fast food is widely spreading across all country. We should realize this message as a wake up call ! Thumps up & tweeted.

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 

      4 years ago

      I rarely buy fast food anymore. It is certainly not the kind of diet for healthy eating.

    • profile image

      swilliams 

      4 years ago

      Great Article Kathleen! I did not know about the injury rate for teens who work at fast food joints. Wow! The way that fast food workers are treated is awful as well, a very humbling experience. Even though I know that fast food is bad for you, and I rarely eat at such places, that hamburger looks good. I'm hungry. Thanks for the article.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      I do not call fast food places convenient Kathleen. I also believe it is less expensive at the supermarket than at a fast food place.

      Kevin

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Kathleen, you shared some very revealing facts bout this industry. With our children being poisoned and the workers being at high risk, the same communities that choose to keep them in operation can choose to close them down. Thanks for making us aware.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Odenthal 

      4 years ago from Bridgewater

      Thank you Kevin! Yes, we live in a world that puts convenience above all us, even our health, and it is a grim future if things don't change!

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      This was a good item to point out Kathleen. I stopped eating fast food years ago when I became aware of my health and what fast foods contained. This is definitely why more people are showing up at doctors and hospitals, not knowing why. I definitely gave this a thumbs up, shared and pinned it. I hope that more become aware. There are those right now who say they are but they keep eating.

      Kevin

    • brutishspoon profile image

      Amy 

      4 years ago from Darlington, England

      Also my dad worked for one of the top UK burger manufacturing companies when he was alive. Their burgers were some of the best and healthiest I've come across but they are still not great.

    • brutishspoon profile image

      Amy 

      4 years ago from Darlington, England

      I prefer to make my own burgers. It may take longer than going to a fast food restaurant or drive through, of which there are five choices from three companies within 3 miles of my house and that's just the big names. However its worth it to do it yourself.

    • Kathleen Odenthal profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Odenthal 

      4 years ago from Bridgewater

      Thank you! Yes, fast food seems to be the one industry that has penetrated every country and its becoming a big problem!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is a wonderful hub to remind everyone about the dangers of Fast food. I think it is convenient and may be addictive too. In India also chain of popular fast food joints have mushroomed. But major population still consumes fresh, home made food. Well there are some exceptions too.

      It is the responsibility of the parents to guide the children, right from the beginning to avoid junk food.

      Very useful and informative hub! Voted up and shared!

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