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Daily Cup of Wellness

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

It has been noted over and over again that obesity is an epidemic in America. An ever increasing number of people are unhealthily overweight even as the prevalence of eating disorders and starvation diets rises. Weight loss has become nearly a way of life, and millions of adults cycle through massive fluctuations in weight as they lose enormous amounts of weight only to gain it back a few months or years later. Schools made physical education mandatory, and an entire industry has grown around the desire to lose or control weight. Despite this, obesity continues to ravage the U.S. population. A recent government study may have found part of the reason for this epidemic.

According to a government survey, roughly a third of the American population eats fast food each day. That means more than 85 million people are hitting the drive thru every day. Suddenly, the rising average weight of the United States makes sense. If one in three people spend their lunch hour at the local McDonalds or Burger King, it is no wonder that people are likely to be overweight. Burgers, French fries and milkshakes are not part of a healthy diet.

The survey was based on a study of roughly 10,000 adults over a course of four years, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only released the final numbers last week. In addition to a concerning number of adults eating fast food with alarming regularity, a similar study found that the numbers were little different in children and adolescents. While saddening, this should not be surprising. Children, after all, cannot take themselves to get fast food. Their parents must take them there, and if parents are eating dinner at Wendy’s, the odds are good that they are buying burgers for their children as well.

The survey found that there was little difference between how often men and women ate fast food, but it was noted that higher-income families ate fast food more often than low income families. When examined by ethnic group, African Americans consumed fast food the most often.

The problem of obesity continues to be difficult to solve in the United States, but the survey offers a clue as to one thing people can do to keep themselves at a healthy weight. Skip the drive thru, and eat at home instead. For those that choose fast food due to limited time, do some research into fast recipes or prepare meals either the night before or over the weekend. Then, all anyone has to do is reheat the food. Meals become just as fast as the drive thru but with dozens of times the nutrition.

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