IS Mcdonald's Really to Blame for Obesity in America?

February 24, 2010
We’ve all heard it, whether it be through a friend, the news, or in the newspaper. Lawsuits being filed against McDonald’s for the cause of obesity in the accuser or their family. In August 2002 two different parents of two different girls both living in the Bronx sued McDonald’s for the obesity of each individual child. They stated that McDonald’s had failed to disclose clearly the ingredients in its food, therefore, accounting for the obesity. Again in February 2003 another claim was made by an unknown “victim” that McDonald’s food is more dangerous and harmful than a customer would have reason expect. In July 2002 a man by the name of Caesar Barber filed a suit against McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Burger King. He alleged that their food caused his obesity, heart attacks, and diabetes.

All of these ridiculous lawsuits have, in essence, blamed McDonald’s for the obesity of one or more persons but is McDonald’s really at fault? Judge Robert Sweet, who handled all of the cases above, wrote in January 2003 “McDonald’s cannot be blamed by consumers who choose to eat there” and “it is not the place of the law to protect them [the accusers] from their own excess. The amount of obesity has dramatically increased among both children and adults. The prevalence of obese children since the 1960s has more than doubled in children from ages 6-11. 5% to 13% in boys and 5% to 9% in girls who are in the age group 12-17 in the USA. Today 190 million American adults are obese. Obesity accounts for 2%-6% of all total healthcare costs in several developed countries. 147 billion dollars were spent in the United States alone. A lot of the general public blames the obesity on McDonald’s, but isn’t it us who eat there? It’s not as if McDonald’s forces us to eat there. Studies show that the basic cause for obesity is the amount of excess energy intake.

Dietary intake services indicate a per capita increase of 200 kcal/d from 1977-1978 to 1994-1996. The US food supply (total food processed, less exports, plus imports) now provides 500 kcal/d per capita more than in the 1970s. Food intake increased outside the home, which accounted for 34% of the food budget in 1970 but 47% by the late 1990s. Out-of-home portion sizes are increasing as well. Larger portions not only contain more energy but also encourage people to eat more making it difficult to balance static levels of physical activity. The FDA encourages people to “sensible” portions but they don’t specify what these portions are. The USDA recommends the food pyramid and the FDA standards for food labels based on a 2,000 calorie diet. With the single exception of sliced white bread, all of the commonly available food portions measured exceeded the USDA and FDA portions. The largest portion excess is in the cookie category which has risen by 700%. Cooked pasta, muffins, steaks, and bagels exceeded USDA standards by 480%, 333%, 224% and 195%. The size of current common foods almost universally exceeds the sizes of those offered in the past. When foods such as beer and chocolate bars were introduced they appeared in one size. That one size is smaller than or equivalent to the smallest current size available. This applies to hamburgers, French fries, and soda, for which current sizes are 2 to 5 times larger than the original. It is proven that obesity is a well known cause of heart attacks. In 2006 425,425 people died of heart attacks. Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” displays the dangers of eating fast food excessively.

McDonald’s along with other fast food chains (Wendy’s, Burger King, etc.) used to offer only one size of French fries. That size is now considered “small” and is one third the weight of the largest size available in 2001. Today’s “large” weighs the same as the 1999 “supersize”. The 2001 “supersize” weighs nearly an ounce more. Since 1999 a McDonalds “supersize “soda is nearly one third larger than the “large”. In 1998-1999, the largest order of French fries in the United States contained 610 calories. The portion sizes are growing, along with the people who eat them excessively. We cannot solely blame anyone person or corporation for the obesity of America. If we learn to control the amount we eat maybe we can prevent some of the obesity in America.

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This article has 19 comments. Post your own now!

ClemsonRocks said...
Nov. 28, 2016 at 2:02 pm
I think McDonald's does cause obesity. Email me if you agree.
yo mama said...
Oct. 16, 2016 at 12:31 pm
In the movie supersize me on the part were he goes to a specific school he saw and so did i the canned food.
yo mama said...
Oct. 16, 2016 at 12:31 pm
In the movie supersize me on the part were he goes to a specific school he saw and so did i the canned food.
LACE said...
Jun. 18, 2015 at 8:37 am
You don't have to eat excessive portions of McDonalds to be unhealthy. One regular sized meal more than once a week at any fast food restaurant is dangerous firstly. Secondly McDonalds doesn't just go out and grow or raise nor,al food and sell it to the consumer, no McDonalds has a team of scientists who have been paid millions to conduct formulas, smells, and tastes that are designed to spark craving or addiction to their foods. If big business is permitted to modify livestock and food in unsav... (more ») said...
Jun. 13, 2015 at 8:44 pm
I think it is the people who are buying fast-foods who r wrong because fast-food places like McDonalds are there 4 u 2 eat but the people who work there aren't going to kill you if you don't eat there its ur choice.Just like in the comments before you can relate it to drugs because you can get addicted to it and you have a choice to stop you haven't been forced to not stop.People think its yummy but it is a detriment to your health because you can get cancer. basically you can relate it to any t... (more »)
jonathan said...
Apr. 8, 2014 at 11:02 am
I do not think this is at all Mcdonalds fault. Yes it is not good that they target the children so they will get addicted. but you do not have to eat the food. yes its addicting and actually could kill you, but not breaking the habit  is your fault. Yes just like drugs as all the comments above me have said. The food taste so good you become addicted. but anyone can break a habit. The restuant makes its money. Thats is sole purpose is to produce money for itself. Why cant people just go eat... (more »)
ayye_jazz_1124 said...
Jan. 23, 2013 at 12:09 pm
well clearly nobody takes notice of their body size. its a serious note and should be put out to the overweight people. mcdonalds is not to blame. it was your own choice going there in the fist place. if it was so easy walking to the counter and ordering a large meal, it should be just as easy as taking a walk around the corner.
Anneonetruth replied...
Jun. 18, 2015 at 8:50 am
Doesn't need to be a large meal to be unhealthy at all. You also don't have to be fat to be unhealthy. Have you been checked lately?
Mtizzle said...
Feb. 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm
you can not blame a corperation for advertising their food it is the consumer fault for eating there it your fault that your overweight nobody from the mcdoanlds corperation came to your house but a gun to your head made you drive to mcdonalds and order a bigmac
Anneonetruth replied...
Jun. 18, 2015 at 8:53 am
You can blame them. It's called liability. If a company operates and causes any problems at all they are liable. Point blank. Just like the cigarette companies were liable once the public found out the truth and then for the most part only the government could sue and receive compensation. But they are held accountable for their actions they knew that food was highly addictive and highly unhealthy.
yousaypotato... said...
Jul. 26, 2011 at 11:35 am guessing you eat at mcdonalds a lot???? and what is your BMI perchance...??? I did my science fair experiment on how healthy fast food restaurants are, and if they falsly advertise on it. ALMOST ALL OF THE MOST POPULAR FOODS ON THE MENUS OF MAJOR FAST FOOD RESTAURANT INCLUDING MCDONALDS CARRY MORE CALORIES, TRANS FAT, SATURATED FAT, SUGAR, SODIUM, AND CARBOHYRDRATES IN ONE MEAL THAN THE RECCOMENDED DAILY VALUE. DAILY VALUE!!! AND MCDONALDS SAYS IN THEIR COMMERCIALS THAT THY SERVE HEALT... (more »)
yousaypotato... replied...
Jul. 26, 2011 at 11:39 am
sorry...forgot to make my point. in todays economic crisis, mcdonalds takes advantage of the fact that most families cant afford to be picky when they eat. so mcdonalds FALSELY advertises that their food is healthy. when the reality of it is that if you eat it regularly, as most of these families have to, you will get fat and unhealthy and potentially die. please dont eat at mcdonalds. they are a powerhungry, ruthless, company that exploits the failing economy to make money for themselvs, and cr... (more »)
ramenmonster replied...
Jul. 31, 2012 at 10:04 pm
precicely. no i do not eat at mcdonalds a lot. but apparantly at taco bell (and im guessing i dont remember exactly so this isnt 100% accurate) but only about 20-30 percent of the meat has to be actual meet which means 80-70 percent is who knows what
swcricket98 said...
Jun. 29, 2011 at 3:35 am
I agree as well. No one has the right to accuse a corporation because they don't have enough self control not to eat there.
ConstanceContraire replied...
May 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm
they put stuff in  the french fries to make them  attictive!
lovetowrite22 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 2, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I fully 100% agree with you on this. Who in their right mind could honestly blame someone else for their own bad eating habits? Yes, as DayofRain50 said in the comment before mine, these corporations are targeting their food towards children and know it's bad for people, but yet are still continuing to sell it for their own profit; however, it's society's decision to eat what they want, and they can't blame other people for their weight. Not only this, but fast food places do offer healthier ... (more »)

DayofRain50 said...
Mar. 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm
Im somewhat agree with you on this. While i do feel it is the consumers fault, I also feel the it is corporation's fault too. They target their food towards children, and they know it is bad for people and that people will get addicted to it, and they still sell it just to make profit. It's like they're drug dealers, the only difference is that drugs are illegal.
ramenmonster replied...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 10:03 pm

of course. I understand what you are saying. But drug dealers chose to buy drugs right? the dealer doesn't shove it down their throats.


but yes i agree with you about the children

yi9854 replied...
May 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm
Even though the drug dealers didnt force anyone to buy their drugs they are still at fault for selling them. If it wasnt possible to buy drugs from anyone there wouldnt be anyone who buys them (and probably dies from an overdose/and probably dies from a heartattack)
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