The Link Between Wealth, Fast Food & Obesity

Fat Man Greedily Eating Hamburger

(DGIwire) — Researchers from the University of Michigan collected data suggesting a correlation between the number of fast food restaurants and obesity rates.  This may sound like old news but scope of the data they analyzed is impressive and their conclusions compelling.

In the study, they looked at 26 wealthy nations.  It is the wealthy countries that have experienced a proliferation of fast food restaurants.  Fast food restaurants are defined as places that serve food with preheated or precooked ingredients and are served in a packaged form.  In general, fast food is usually higher in fat, sugar, salt and calories.

The researchers found that countries with a higher density of fast food restaurants per capita had much higher obesity rates compared to countries with a lower density of fast food restaurants per capita.  Among wealthy nations, the United States has more fast food restaurants than any other nation with 7.52 fast food restaurants per 100,000 people and we also lead the way with an obesity rate exceeding 31 percent.  Our closest neighbor, Canada has 7.43 fast food restaurants per 100,000 people and their obesity rate is about 23 percent.  As the per capita number of fast food restaurants declines, so do obesity rates.  This pattern was consistent across all the countries in the study.

The researchers were of the opinion that obesity research largely overlooks the global market forces behind the epidemic.  They thought that public debate is focusing too much on individual genetics and other individual factors and overlooking the global forces in society that are shaping behaviors worldwide.

“The cause of the epidemic rise in obesity, chronic diseases and other modern metabolic disorders is not genetics.  No one is genetically destined to be sick or fat.  These trends can be directly tied to an individual’s poor diet and lifestyle choices.  We are bombarded with slick manufacturer marketing and general misinformation about the importance of diet and lifestyle and its effect on our health and we are suffering the consequences”, according to Tom Griesel co-author of TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust (BSH 2011).

Griesel adds, “Avoiding the man-made, refined and processed, unnatural combinations so often found in fast food restaurants and on supermarket shelves today is the first step to better health and a smaller waistline.  Replacing these “fake foods” and focusing on a diet of fresh and freshly prepared fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts, seeds, eggs, wild fish and quality meats as provided by Mother Nature will vastly improve your weight and health in a very short period of time.”

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