LSA freshman Michael Schallman said he has six to seven fast food meals a week but is not worried about becoming an overweight adult.
“Fast food is easy, quick and convenient. … It’s difficult to find healthy food on campus. There are not many choices around,” Schallman said.
But he may be heading down the same path as many Americans, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The report found two-thirds of Americans are overweight, 30.5 percent are obese and 4.7 percent are extremely obese.
“No, I am not surprised. I’ve heard that before and Michigan is one of the fattest states,” Music senior Kathryn Drake said.
The obesity issue has long been addressed and is well known to most people, but studies say people usually are overly optimistic about the risks of becoming overweight.
“If your parents are thin, that doesn’t mean that you are going to be thin as well,” Kinesiology Prof. Jeffrey Horowitz said.
Horowitz added that the amount of food intake affects weight more than genetics, which is why having more calories than needed will cause weight gain despite the family history of the person.
Easy access to fast food, thousands of food advertisements and a general ignorance of calorie content are the reasons students said the overweight population in America is quickly rising.
Horowitz said corporate behaviors, like advertising and extracting all consumer surpluses by offering cheap extra food, which consumers do not need, are causing people to overeat. “It’s the super size phenomenon,” Horowitz said. “By just adding 25 cents, you can get a third more product. It’s to your benefits. You are losing money if you don’t get it.”
High-calorie fast food is one of the most popular foods on campus because students typically do not have time or money for other types of food.
“There’s just so much emphasis on convenient food,” LSA freshman Fallon Leplay said. “It’s so easy to go to McDonald’s and pick up a value meal. It’s so much easier than cooking and less time-consuming.”
Though the price of getting satisfaction for the stomach is getting cheaper, the cost of obesity is significant. According to studies, more than $100 billion are spent on treating obesity-related illnesses in the United States. Obesity may cause diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, cancers, arthritis and other diseases, according to the report, and reducing weight is beneficial.
“Exercise alone cannot help to loose weight. The calories intake must also be restricted,” Horowitz said. Changing unhealthy lifestyles, knowing more about obesity, reducing food intake and having regular exercises are methods that help to produce weight loss, studies have found.