Obesity is a growing concern in both personal and public health that has been identified as a lifestyle condition accelerated by poor living and eating habits. Obesity has been identified as a predisposing factor diabetes, cardiac infections, cancer and high blood. Obesity lies as a lifestyle condition in the light of the health promotion model, which explains that good health is more than just the absence of disease. According to this model, individuals should do all they can to ensure holistic wellbeing. Having a healthy weight is a significant step towards good health. Obesity leads to decreased productivity in addition to the health concerns, since leads to use of more resources to meet medical expenses, underperformance in individuals and increased social costs. In this light all members of the society have a personal responsibility to maintain a healthy body weight. Consumption of fast foods has been documented as one of the leading causes of obesity. Fast foods include junk food taken in fast food cafes such as burgers, chips, chicken, fish, ice cream, pizza, French fries hotdogs, nuggets among others; as well as the precooked foods such as noodles prepared at homes (Viola et al, 428).
According to Finkelstein et al (563) obesity occurs when the intake of calories exceeds the body requirement, causing accumulation of fats and positive energy imbalance in the body, leading to uncontrolled gaining of weight. There are several causes of obesity including the genetic makeup, physical inactivity and most significantly, poor dietary patterns. Studies agree that the main cause for obesity among children and adults is poor eating habits. Viola, (424) states that “Dietary intake and physical activity are important contributing factors in the development of obesity. If calorie intake is in excess of requirement it will be stored mainly as body fat … If the stored body fat is not utilised over time, it will lead to overweight or obesity.” Fast foods contain high contents of calories, saturated fats, salt and sugar, which are the root causes of energy imbalance in the body, fat accumulations, unhealthy body weight and obesity.
Several studies have been done on the contribution of fast foods to obesity. As Fraser et al (e77) explains, the intake of fast foods has increased in the last four decades than ever before, where sales have doubled with respect to those at the close of the 20th century. People have hundreds of good reasons for fast foods, citing limitations such as time, cooking apparatus and energy conservation. With the increased uptake of fast foods, cases of obesity have increased exponentially. According to Poti et al, (162), 42.8 percent of individuals in the United states has unhealthy weights while 33.7 percent is obese including at least 19 percent of people under the age of 20. These alarming figures can be as a result of several factors, most significantly, the increased uptake of fast foods.
A report by Viola, (426) states that fast foods are essentially highly processed. He explains that fast foods are “full of fat, calories and sodium,” stating that one with fast foods, it is possible to take in over 1,500 calories from a single meal. This would mean that the expected 1500 to 1800 calories set by nutritionists to be taken per day is consumed in just a single meal, while all the calories present in the next two or three meals goes unutilized. The result is increased body weight. As Fraser et al (e79) explains, “choosing a typical fast food meal every day can lead to increased calories which can lead to weight gain and can lead to other health conditions like heart disease.” This is as a result of the increased energy density in fast foods.
It is also important to note that fast foods are taken alongside “soft drinks” which are usually sugared. These add to the risk caused by fast foods towards obesity. Viola, (427) states that “the term soft drink encompasses sodas along with other sugar-sweetened beverages such as fruit drinks, lemonade, and iced tea [while] the term soda encompasses sugar-sweetened carbonated beverages such as colas.” These drinks contain simple carbohydrates that are easily converted into energy, leading to more positive energy imbalance which contributes significantly to obesity.
In conclusion, it is evident that fast foods are contributing significantly to obesity. This is due to presence of fats, cholesterol sugars that go with fast food processing. While fast food presents itself as a quick, cheap and delicious option, its impact on health is far much costly. With the increased rate of consumption of fast foods from the 1970’s, there is a coincidental increase in obesity among both adults and children. A number of scholars argue that it cannot be concluded the increasing consumption of fast food is responsible for the rise in cases of obesity, but studies show a positive correlation between uptake of fast foods and obesity. While there are a pool of factors contributing to obesity, fast foods play a significant role. It is the responsibility of every member of the society to ensure a healthy body weight by minimizing the uptake of fast foods, which can be replaced with whole meals and fruits