1. The job opportunities offered by fast food companies
Fast food is consumed so much by people on daily basis. There are many fast food outlets in both developed and developing countries. People can easily see fast food restaurants, such as McDonalds, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chickens (KFC) and Pizza Huts in the street. Fast food industry offers more jobs opportunities to the people in local areas. According to McDonald’s Australia (2005), McDonalds Australia had 715 restaurants in 2002. The demand for McDonald’s product increases and many people, especially young people can work in McDonald’s franchisees. This shows that fast food companies successfully make a contribution in solving social unemployment issues. Other studies also show that university students work temporally in fast food outlets so that their salary may cover their expenses during their study. This suggests that, to certain extent, fast food industry has some positive effects on people’s life.
2. The convenience of fast food
Many people in the world like fast food because of its convenience. In the UK, many women do not have time to do shopping and cook for the family. Many working mothers easily take their children to go to the local fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s or Burger King to eat. Schlosser’s (2002) study shows that the number of working women has increased significantly and more and more women spend less time cooking at home, therefore, their families spent more on fast food meals. McDonald’s and KFC have launched many chains in some developing countries, such as China, India, Thailand, etc. According to Rault-Wack and Bricas (2002), fast food industry offers people convenience and reduce the burden of cooking at home because people may order fast food by telephone or online so the food can be delivered shortly. It is very easy and convenient to have fast food for a meal after school/work.
3. The low price of fast food
The price for fast food in fast food outlet is very low thus most families in the UK can afford to eat there. Fast food companies make their products as cheap as possible. According to Schlosser (2002), fast food companies try very hard to buy the ingredients as cheap as possible because even a few pennies difference in price is important for the success of their business. Based on cheap ingredients, fast food outlets can afford to give customers a supersized portion for low price. Since most customers cannot resist a bargain, this strategy is very effective. It is very clear that the low price and big portion make fast food more attractive to customers. People pay for fast food whenever they want to have it.
The negative effects of fast food
Fast food has many negative effects on people’s health.
1. Fast food with high salt and saturated fat
Fast food companies encourage people to eat a lot without realising the health issues that can lead to disease. Experts from the Medical Research Council (2009) have reported that fast food contains lots of salt and saturated fat. Fast food is full of calorie, it is easy to be addicted to it and take in more calories than people need. Most of these calories do come from fat and sugar. Eating too much fat and sugar can cause negative effects on human health. It is clear that home cooked fresh food is healthier than fast food cooked with cheap ingredients. 2. Diabetes caused by fast food
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The way that fast food is cooked and sold have bad effects on people’s health. In some developing countries, many children do not have enough food every day. According to Schlosser (2002), the author of Fast Food Nation, the disease caused by eating too much fast food has become the second biggest killer after smoking in USA. American people have suffered from diabetes, especially those who are over 50 years old, because they have eaten too much fast food in their life. Schlosser also states that Americans spend more money on fast food than they spend on higher education tuition fees every year. Meanwhile, British people suffer from eating too much fast food and some people have to get medical treatment. As mentioned above, fast food is high in fat, high in refined carbohydrates and high in sugar, but it is low in anything of nutritional element. Consequently, many people have got diabetes by eating fast food. In the United States, the case of middle-aged Caesar Barber shows what happened to his health after eating fast food frequently. He suffered from diabetes and heart attack. He sues McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast food compaies, claiming that his illnesses were partially those companies’ fault (Martindale, 2003). Oppositely, these fast food companies claimed that it was Caesar Barber’s responsibility to choose if he should eat fast food or not. Caesar Barber’s failed in this case, but the most important is that this case shows that fast food has bad effects on people’s health. Therefore, people should not eat fast food. The connection between fast food and children’s obesity
Many children go to fast food outlets immediately after school. They like fast food because they think that fast food is tasty. They spend a lot of time eating fast food and chatting with their friends before they go home. Most fast food outlets offer big portions, such as Big Mac, double cheese burger, etc. Children do not want to eat anything for dinner. They do not do any physical exercises after eating a big portion of fast food. It is very bad that some children just immediately go to bed after eating fast food. The parents from those disadvantaged families do not look after their children properly and they allow their children to sleep immediately after eating fast food. The extra fat and salt store in children’s body that may make children overweight. In the UK, the government introduced healthy food scheme in schools for some years but still many children, especially those from single-parent families, eat fast food as their dinner after school. Studies have shown that the UK is the country that has more fat children than other European nations. It is a big issue that some doctors are concerned about. Hickman’s (2005) study shows that obesity has ‘tripled’ in the UK (p.8). He states that the increase of children’s obesity has been accompanied by the high sales of fast food. More fast food is sold in fast food outlets, more children become obese as they are the customers that fast food companies target. From the above evidence it can be seen that fast food is a one of the major causes of children’s obesity. Conclusion
Currently fast food is consumed by many young people, especially children in the UK. On the one hand, fast food has some positive effects. Fast food companies open many outlets in the world so that they offer more employments to local people. Fast food is convenient as it saving a lot of cooking time so working mothers do not have to cook meals for their children after work. The price of fast food is very low so most families, even those disadvantaged families can afford it. On the other hand, fast food contains high salt and fat so many adults have suffered from diabetes. Studies show that there is a strong connection between fast food and children’s obesity because most of obese children eat much fast food frequently. Therefore, government should help those disadvantaged families and encourage them to cook fresh food for their children. Additionally, fast food outlets should not be allowed to locate near school premises. Fast food companies should not be allowed to sell big portions to children. Meanwhile, working mothers should manage to spend more time cooking healthy food at home. With the efforts made by both government and parents, children can have more healthy diets and the number of children with obesity will be reduced sooner or later.
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