I know that a lot of focus on this board is spent on pointing out the deficiencies of the SAD diet. All true. I for one believe that eating a variety of whole, unprocessed foods is the way to go for optimal health. We may all have our disagreements on which food to include or not but that is just quibbling over the fine print. That is not the purpose of this thread. I am hoping to start a discussion and share ideas on how to address a rising epidemic that we are all, as a nation, paying for in some way.
The nation, as a whole, has gotten more overweight at a near constant rate since 1976. Before that, the obesity/overweight level was constant back to 1960 (seems they did not track it before that). This line graph created by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) illustrates this point: (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/USObesityRate1960-2004.svg)
The available data suggest that large portions of energy-dense foods are contributing to the obesity epidemic (The Supersizing of America: Portion Size and the Obesity Epidemic Rolls, Barbara J. PhD).
Multiple hierarchal regressions revealed that square miles per fast food restaurants and residents per restaurant accounted for 6% of the variance in state obesity rates after controlling for population density, ethnicity, age, gender, physical inactivity, and fruit and vegetable intake. The entire model explained 70% of the total variance in state obesity rates (The relationship between obesity and the prevalence of fast food restaurants: state-level analysis. University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822, USA).
The per‐capita number of fast‐food restaurants in the United States doubled from 1972 to 1999 with the obesity rate increasing from 13.9 percent to 29.6 percent− 113 percent increase in the obesity rate [SS‐AAEA Journal of Agricultural Economics; Who Consumes Fast‐Food and Why? By Zeke Bryant]
Now the next part is somewhat anecdotal...portion sizes at fast food restaurants have dramatically increased. From statements from elders (aka my parents), watching older movies or movies set in the 50's (think American Graffiti), the portion sizes at fast food restaurants has increased dramatically. A regular burger is now a junior burger. A regular fry is now the small!
I recognize this is correlation and not causation but the link cannot be ignored between Fast Food and Obesity.
Instead of trying to change the nations diet (an almost impossible task with feasibility issues), or doing something draconian like outlawing fast food (which would help a lot!), would it not make more sense to make fast food companies limit the portions they serve to fight the obesity epidemic? What are your thoughts?
I want to say thank your for the fun discussion and those that participated. I think that sharing ideas and even being critical can be an enlightening process.