Archive for April, 2013

Fast foods could eventually be healthy


2013
04.24

Fast foods can be defined by a number of ways depending on the geographical context. In this paper, however, fast foods are distinguished from those foods prepared in normal restaurants and homes. There are two characteristics that are somewhat unique, though there exists some exceptions, to fast foods. First and foremost, fast foods services lack any service in that the consumers of fast food take the food away for consumption at their convenience. Secondly, they make use of disposable utensils as well as various methods of packaging. The history of fast foods can be dated back to the 1800s though the practice became popular with the introduction of McDonald’s. Various restaurants have evolved into diners and eventually into fast food restaurants.
The growing concern about fast food is the concerns on their effects on health, a public health problem. Innumerous studies have linked the practice with obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems as well as other lifestyle related diseases. Mostly, people with poor eating habits have having imbalances between their energy intake and expenditure. Fast foods are termed as usually having high amounts of energy giving foods coupled with fats and oils, a situation that largely contributes to the imbalances. In the United States, the prevalence of lifestyle related diseases in constantly on the rise, a case that has been witnessed since the mid-seventies. The situation synonymously tallies with the number of fast food joints which are cited to have increased more than double what they were in the seventies. Their widespread availability is assumed as a determining factor for the increased rates of obesity (Goodman, 1). The purpose of this study is to find out the existing trends in the eating habits and the measures being taken by policy makers in a bid to make fast foods safer.
Eating habits and trends
There is a growing need among the corporate world for services that match the speed of fast food joints. Studies among the France reveal that they do not like spending so much time waiting for food. The syndicate estimates the normal waiting time of the French people as of today at around seventeen minutes in the morning, thirty three minutes at noon and thirty eight minutes for evening meals. There is a significant change in the time taken for meals in relation to the progression of the corporate world. The total average time a French person spends eating or waiting for food is estimated to be eighty eight minutes. The preferred average waiting period for Americans on the other hand is ninety minutes. This is sufficient evidence required to make conclusions that neither the Americans nor the French have enough time to spare for meals (Currie , DellaVigna, Moretti and Vikram, 8-10).
Measures on fast foods preparation
There is a significant correlation among food users between food quality and he price the pay. Consumers have evidently been seen as to prefer goods and services that are relatively cheaper. However with the growing need for fast foods and their related health risks, studies show that consumers are willing to pay premium prices in a bid to ensure safety. On the other hand fast food restaurants are constantly improving their quality in order to match with their competitors as well as to attract clientele. The French people’s willingness has been found to be much higher than that of the Americans. Price and quality go hand in hand with each other and the end result is achievements of high standards. (Greenhouse, 14).
Policy makers in developed countries are responding to the rise in fast food restaurants. The availability of contents in the fasts foods is currently on a closer watch to ensure that it does not affect the health of the clientele. The fast food chains, according to the new regulations, are required to post caloric information on their packaging (NAIM, 2-5). Consumers on the other end have a right to know the quality and quantity of calories they are consuming from fast foods in order to make informed choices. Such information will also limit the development of heart diseases among fast food restaurants frequenters. A study has shown that over eighty three percent need caloric information from fast food restaurants and other meals bought in regular restaurants. This is a move towards making fast foods safer. Dietary guidelines are also being used by food quality and safety officials to label safe fast food restaurants (Robinson, 1-10).
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There are various criteria that are being used to ensure that future fast food restaurants are safe. In the actual sense, fast food restaurants clients do not engage in physical activities predisposing them to lifestyle diseases. In order to avoid this, zoning requirements of the restaurants have been established mainly in the United States with other countries following suit. These restaurants are required to have a permit before they commence construction work or general setting up. In order for them to be licensed, they are required to situate themselves at least a distance of more than half a mile from any school. Playing areas, recreational areas, as well as other children related facilities. Other areas where the distance to fast foods restaurants is restricted is from bus stations. The essence of this move is to encourage fast foods clientele to exercise while taking the products. However, some fast foods restaurants are exempted from these requirements owing to their incentive program related to grocery stores strengthening and the population they serve (Austin, Melly, Brisa, Patel, Buka, and Gortmaker, 1575-81).
Conclusion
The overall picture presented here is one of a need to improve fast food restaurants in order to suit the growing needs of people. The Americans and the French are obsessed with the provision of services at fast food restaurants. However, their increase in use demands that they provide more quality food in order to ensure sustainability in practice and reduced health risks for the clientele. Numerous measures such as increasing prices to premium levels and making the services user friendly are being taken by the fast food restaurants in a bid to popularize themselves. One can say that they are succeeding as the Americans and French are becoming more and more used to them. There are also other measures that are being taken by food agencies in order to ensure that food restaurants are safer in the future. These measures include requirements to post the caloric information, encouragement of grocery incentives as well as zoning which entails strategic location of the fast food restaurants. These moves have and continue to make the fast food restaurants safer. The level of safety can even be compared with possibilities of being better than the normal restaurants.

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