Editorial: Study shows meal choices too often unhealthy
Location analytics start-up “Placed” last week released its findings of the 10 top-visited businesses in United States. Results showed that nearly half of Americans age 14 and older visited McDonald’s in the month of March alone, which put the fast-food restaurant as the No. 1 top-visited business.
Walmart was second and Subway was third.
What’s interesting to note is that five of the top 10 businesses are quick-service eateries, with Burger King, Wendy’s and Taco Bell rounding out the list.
That implies some unsettling things about American consumers, not the least of which is that we eat too much fast food.
Fast food is appealing for a number of reasons — chief among them convenience. The burgers, sandwiches and wraps are pre-made and available within minutes. Perfect for a person or family on the go. The meals are relatively inexpensive, too.
However, fast food is often unhealthy food. It can be chock-full of saturated fat, calories and sodium, sometimes in extreme excess of the recommended daily intake of calories.
Combine America’s apparent love of fast food with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, and it’s no wonder that the United States has the highest obesity rate in the world.
More than one-third of U.S. adults and approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents ages 2 to 9 are obese, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Obesity-related medical conditions include heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Not all fast food is bad. Fast-food chains are making great strides by adding more healthful items to their menus, such as salads, fruit and more grilled chicken, whole wheat and vegetarian options.
American consumers are making strides, too.
Between 2007 to 2010, about 11.3 percent of daily calories came from fast food, down from 12.8 percent reported between 2003 to 2006, according to data collected by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s not ideal, but it’s progress.
It’s easy to choose fast food when we’re strapped for time. It’s also easy to see that may not be the best choice for our health.