KFC and McDonald’s are upset with Rotherham Borough Council because of the council’s draft policy which would keep fast foodshops at least 800m (875 yards) from school and college gates. The authority’s draft policy says it wants to promote “healthy lifestyles to tackle high obesity rates”. Both KFC and McDonald’s say that RMBC’s proposals are ‘irrational’ and KFC argues there is no proven link between fast foods and obesity. KFC is wrong. Fast food, also commonly referred to as junk food, is undoubtedly very popular in the UK but is closely linked with health problems including obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Research shows that those consuming fast food regularly gain more weight and have an increased risk of health disorders.
The advantages of fast food include convenience and taste. As the name suggests, fast food can be quickly prepared by a restaurant or stall, is often quick to eat and may not require cutlery to eat. Key to the popularity of fast food is its ability to satisfy the taste buds. Fast food typically relies on salt, sugar and other additives to provide an enticing taste.
The following are common disadvantages to be found amongst fast food. Highly calorific Nutritionally poor Low in fibre High in fat, sugar and salt May include additives such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) May contain trans fats. Often contain processed meats Can have addictive properties
Fast food tends to be rich in macronutrients, such as carbohydrate, fat and protein, but unless eaten with vegetables, fast food meals are usually nutritionally poor and lack a good balance of vitamins, minerals and fibre. As described above, fast food is often rich in fat, salt, sugar and may include chemical additives such as MSG. These elements help provide the food with its taste but the downsides include increased calories, can be harmful to our health if eaten too regularly and may also have addictive properties. The main culprit for childhood obesity is learned dietary habits children observe at home. Poor eating patterns consist of drinking sugary drinks and eating processed foods as oppose to eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Not only are these bad habits observed at home, they are enforced in schools that lack healthy food options. Poor exercise, eating junk food obsessively, and fried foods, is what leads to obesity.
There is also the problem of litter from fast foodshops If you walk down Laughton Road in Dinnington or through Rotherham early on Sunday mornings especially you will be confronted with piles of discarded food cartons and wrappers. It is accepted this is not the sole responsibility of food outlets, it more to do with reckless, feckless and brainless people who have no idea what litter bins are for. Litter is anti-social and unsightly.
It could be argued that people who cannot stop stuffing themselves with junk food and are classed as obese should not receive priority treatment on the NHS (as opposed to some people with medical conditions which can lead to obesity, for example an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) where your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, Cushing’s syndrome , a rare disorder that causes the over-production of steroid hormones) However, if conditions such as these are properly diagnosed and treated they should pose less of a barrier to weight loss.
KFC and McDonald’s are in business to make money, they are not in business to promote healthy lifestyles and in this instance it is hoped that RMBC will stick to their proposals to keep fastfood chain outlets as far away from schools and colleges as possible.