While some economists point to big-box stores like Walmart for America’s obesity epidemic, a 2014 report indicates that obesity rates are most likely to increase when fast food chains are close by. In other words, the closer you are to a fast food chain, the more likely you are to gain weight.
According to the lead researcher, Prof Kamlesh Khunti from the University of Leicester, and his colleagues, every 2 fast food outlets per neighborhood is likely to lead to 1 additional case of diabetes – assuming a casual relationship between the two.
“The results are quite alarming and have major implications for public health interventions to limit the number of fast-food outlets in more deprived areas…In a multi-ethnic region of the UK, individuals had on average two fast-food outlets within 500 metres of their home.
This number differed substantially by key demographics, including ethnicity; people of non-white ethnicity had more than twice the number of fast-food outlets in their neighbourhood compared with white Europeans. We found that the number of fast-food outlets in a person’s neighbourhood was associated with an increased risk of screen-detected type 2 diabetes and obesity.
…We found a much higher number of fast-food outlets in more deprived areas where a higher number of black and minority ethnic populations resided. This in turn was associated with higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes.”
Co-author Dr Patrice Carter, also from the Leicester team, said: “The observed association between the number of fast-food outlets with obesity and type 2 diabetes does not come as a surprise; fast-food is high in total fat, trans-fatty acids and sodium, portion sizes have increased two to fivefold over the last 50 years and a single fast-food meal provides approximately 1,400 calories. Furthermore, fast-food outlets often provide sugar-rich drinks.”
Thankfully, McDonald’s isn’t seeing the best of months or even years. McDonald’s has been losing money fast, and even underperforming the stock market for quite some time. New revelations from the company’s February sales reveal that the fast food giant is still losing money month after month — even after claiming that they would be ‘changing’ their business model.
As Business Insider explains:
“McDonald’s US sales plunged 4% in February, erasing last month’s slight increase. The decline was steeper than the .7% drop that Wall Street had expected for US same-store sales. Overall, global same-store sales declined 1.8% in February.”
In fact, the fast food giant is being hit so hard that both the CEO and CFO recently stepped down. The world’s largest restaurant chain is frantically replacing its foundation in an attempt to recover from its plummeting reputation.
What’s more, reports show that children (and their parents) are finally beginning to realize that McDonald’s should not be the go-to joint for a quick meal. the percentage of children eating fast food on any given day went from a high of 39% to a lower 33% between 2003 and 2010. And if the health food movement tells us anything, it’s that the drop is likely even greater if you were to include the last 4 years.
If McDonald’s doesn’t get its act together, we will definitely see locations closing and people’s health improving.
Photo Credit: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins