Fast food not convenient for students’ health

October 27, 2011

Staff Reporter


Fast food is a growing industry throughout the world and is also one of the reasons Americans’ waistlines are expanding.


According to www.myfit.com, there has been a rapid increase in the rate of obesity that can be linked to the consumption of fast food.


Some Tech students say convenience is one of the reasons they rely on fast food.


Jason Greer, a junior economics major, said students turn to fast food because they have demanding lifestyles.


“We’re college students, and time is money,” Greer said. “It’s really convenient because we lead such busy lives.”


Today, Americans spend more than $110 billion a year at fast food restaurants. That is $107 billion more than the nation spent in 1972, according to www.supersizeme.com.


Other Tech students said they frequently eat fast food because of the taste and that they want to change up their meals from what the Tech cafeteria offers.


Jared Davidson, a junior accounting major, said he eats fast food almost every day.


“I eat it pretty much any time I’m hungry,” he said. “It tastes good.”


Jessica Modica, a freshman political science major, said she eats fast food about four times a week because she wants something new to eat other than the cafeteria.


“It’s close to campus, and I get tired of eating the same thing over and over again in the cafe,” she said.


According to Webmd.com, more than 60 percent of Americans were obese or overweight in 2010.


Louisiana has the fifth highest obesity rate in the nation. However, it is better than its neighboring state of Mississippi, which has taken No. 1 for the sixth year in a row, according to www.calorielab.com.


Katie Cordaro, a dietitian at LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, said the obesity epidemic has multiple factors. She said it is also related to decreased physical activity, increased portion sizes and the increased availability of food.


“With this large influx of cheap, calorically dense, readily available food, comes the responsibility of parents, schools and the government to educate children on the proper food choices,” Cordaro said. According to www.healthyeatingguide.com, the serving size of a hamburger, fries and soda has tripled since the 1970s.


Cordaro said when people are faced with larger portion sizes, they tend to eat more. She said eating larger portions leads to obesity and hypertension. She also said obesity alone can lead to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.


“Fast food menu items usually contain high amounts of sodium and potentially harmful preservatives such as sodium nitrates,” Cordaro said. “Both of these additives can lead to higher incidences of stroke and hypertension.”


Greer said he thinks that fast food is not as bad for you when you have it occasionally, but he said he still thinks it is not a good decision for a meal.


“As long as you choose lower calorie options, it can be OK in moderation, but fast food as a whole is a terrible decision,” Greer said.


Cordaro said fast food can fit into a healthful lifestyle, which includes choosing recommended portion sizes of lean meats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Most fast food places offer substitutes like baked chips, fruit and salads for items such as french fries.


“All of these foods can be beneficial to health and are available on many fast food menus,” she said.


Although fast food may seem like an unhealthy decision, students making good and informed decisions about menu items will help their health and well being in the future.


Email commentsto mmb041@latech.edu.


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