≡ Menu

Recent Study Reveals Being Overweight Is Not About Proximity To Fast-food

It’s still what we eat that matters.

A recent study done by a Harvard University scholar showed that contrary to popular belief, easy access to fast food does not necessarily translate to being overweight.

The author of the study, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar Dr. Jason Block, analyzed and evaluated thirty years worth of data that has been gathered from respondents in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort. The study monitored the weight and heart health of people in and nearby Framingham, Mass. from the year 1971 until 2001, and showed that there is no consistent connection that exists between easy access to fast food eateries and an individual’s BMI (body mass index), a body fat measurement determined by weight and height.

“We learned that living near any fast food restaurant has no direct effect on a person’s overall weight, with little effect on women,” said Block. “It’s basically not where one lives that matters, but what he eats.”

The results of the study dispute a common belief that living in vicinity with many unhealthy food establishments such as fast-food restaurants contribute to the increasing rate of obesity and overweight citizens in America.

This common belief spun from studies that were done in recent years which showed that people living in areas with many fast food restaurants appear to gain more weight and have a higher risk for cardiovascular illnesses as compared to those who live in areas where such restaurants are scarce. The studies are backed by scientific data, but researchers always stipulated in their findings that there is no direct link between the two. “Although the study suggests that people who are living in these neighborhoods have an increased risk, the findings are purely associative and do not necessarily point to a direct connection between the two. “ The claim therefore is very much disputable and cannot be held as an accurate truth.

This distrust on fast-food consumption took its form when the number of fast-food restaurants in the country increased by hundreds of thousands in the past decades, with consumers spending hundreds of billions of dollars on it. The more popular it became, the more criticisms it had.

Fast-food was deemed to be easy, convenient, filling and inexpensive. If you would compare it with other food concepts, fast-food is something that ordinary people and working people can go out and enjoys—something we can eat without fork, plates or knives. Most fast-food items can be eaten while we are driving, and the restaurants are usually drive through; its chefs in superior chef aprons make sure that consumer convenience is their top priority, hence the tremendous popularity and customer appeal it gained.

But along with the popularity comes immense criticism. Alongside the many political censures, the food was also discovered to be heavy on salt, fat and sugar, with reduced nutrients. Even with their chefs in neat chef aprons currently offering healthful menu options, fast-food still tends to have high levels of fat and calories, as well as very low levels of fiber and nutritious substances. One meal of fast-food holds enough calories to fill a diner’s caloric requirement for the whole day.

Every little negative finding in thousands of studies that have been made about this food concept gets blown out of proportion, such as this particular issue. The dispute might go on, but the fact remains: what we and our children eat is still our basic call.