Fast foods are not new phenomena; these are foods that are quickly prepared and served. It traced its origin in the US in the 1950s. In a typical setup, these foods are served in restaurants, and other food outlets close to the people. The ever growing popularity of such foods has been to blame on the laziness of the people (especially college students) who seem to prefer precooked meals to well cooked meals. These types of food are common among the children in the colleges, both local college students and international college students. These types of food include, desserts, hamburgers, chicken, French fries, soft drinks, coffee, and milkshakes.
In as much as the students are aware of the possible health effects of these foods, they have continued to use them. Scientists and nutritionists have confirmed the dangers of these foods and have even warned the public against consuming them continuously, but, unfortunately, all that has been like singing to the deaf. They have warned that these foods have both long and short term effects, but it seems like many people have not taken them seriously. They have gone ahead to outline the health effects associated with these foods (Scholesser). In this work, I will look at the effects of fast foods for the college students both local student and international students.
Firstly, these foods affect our energy levels a great deal. Most of these foods have got a high sugar level; hence they greatly stress the rate of metabolic reactions leading to a general body weakness. Most of these fast foods do not have contained the nutrients required by human bodies for its growth and development and for the sake of keeping our bodies healthy (Insel, Ross and McMahon). They lack nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and mineral salts required by the body, hence lead to a drop in human body fatigue and stimulating a craving for sugar in the human body.
Obesity, a common health defect and common among college going students, has been proved to be another effect of fast foods. Scientists have been able to prove that most obese cases are a result of poor eating habits such as eating fast foods and not as it has been a perception that obesity is an inherited trait. The cases of inherited obesity are very minimal as compared to the bad eating habits cases. These foods contain fats which when accumulate in the body of an individual, can make one gain weight and become extremely and unhealthily fat. A medical condition referred to as obesity (Williams and Fruhbeck). The number of obese cases has increased especially in America especially among the college students as a result of consuming junk foods. Continuous gain of weight leads to the narrowing of blood vessels leading to serious illness known as high blood pressure as the veins will be unusually narrowed. Sodium, which is associated with these foods also have a negative impact on the renal function and can lead to kidney diseases for instance kidney failure or kidney stones (Williams and Fruhbeck).
There are also short term health effects of this kind of foods, for example, fats (that is associated with fast foods) lead to poor psychological performance as an individual who has taken these foods will feel tired, hence unable to concentrate due to inadequate oxygen supply in the body and specifically to the brain (Williams and Fruhbeck). After taking such foods, many tend to feel tired and unable to participate in class. They consequently affect their performance academically. The majority of students I talked to were able to accept that they know this has contributed to their poor performance in class but ‘we have no otherwise’.
Moreover, these foods can lead to a medical complication known as diabetes. This is a health condition caused by fluctuation of blood sugar level in a body. It is the high sugar and carbohydrate level in such foods that lead to this condition. Such foods lack the basic nutrients like proteins and carbohydrates needed by the body in maintaining a consistent blood sugar level, the blood sugar level will drop suddenly after eating such foods (Williams and Fruhbeck). After some time, the body will be stressed due to the condition; hence its ability to utilize insulin secreted by the pancreas will be damaged. Diabetic students are unable to concentrate fully in their studies as they spend most of their time seeking medical attention hence have little time for their schoolwork.
The heart and the liver are also human organs susceptible to damage as a result of continuous consumption of fast foods. High level of fats which, is usually associated with fast foods can because heart disease by increasing the cholesterol level in the blood and consequently building up plaque (Insel, Ross and McMahon). Nonetheless fatty acids in such foods also lead to deposition of fats in the liver and this can consequently lead to liver dysfunction.
Other short term effects of fast food may include constipation, which is a hardship of digestion, especially after eating leading to a feel of dizziness. Many students I interviewed accepted the fact that fast foods were the major reason why they doze in class during tutors. This is as a result of the ‘sleepy’ feeling associated with fast foods. Mood swing has also been singled out as an effect of fast foods. They also have a tendency of making one feeling exhausted hence cannot be able to exercise to remove the excess calories in the body.
A majority of the students I was able to interview blamed lack of enough time to prepare well cooked food as a reason why they opt for fast foods. They also said that the fact that they are readily available in the college and almost everywhere in the streets is another reason why they are so much into the foods. Others went ahead to say that they will stop eating junk foods only when they seize to be sold in the school compound.
The administration of colleges should be able to come in and ban the sale of such foods in their respective colleges. It is only through this that they will be saving the lives of thousands of college students whose lives are currently in danger due to continuous consumption of these foods. They should instead promote the sale of properly cooked foods for their students.
The business industry in America is the free industry where no one has a right to intimidate the, other so long as he or she is engaging in a legal business. This has helped in improving the standards of living of the business people (Haskivtz). However, of great concern is whether one should venture into a business that put the lives of several students in danger just because there is a free enterprise system in USA. The sale of such foods in the colleges should be banned to save the lives of the students in the nation.
My opinion on this is that to some extent, the government should step in and come up with legislations restricting what should and what should not be sold to the public (especially to the college students) even if it means infringing on the people’s right to choice. It is the people who gave the government a mandate to work on their behalf hence they can use the same authority restored upon them by the people to enact laws that favors them (Insel, Ross and McMahon). The people should also work in hand with the government to ensure that the government protects them even if it means limiting some of their rights such as right to choice as witnessed above. Moreover, the government should also launch an awareness forum to ensure the awareness of the people on the effects of fast foods to the people’s health and to the economy at large as it will lose several young people of the working age due to the sale of this kind of food.
Once these can be solved once and for all, the government will be proud to boast for having a healthy bunch of college students. It is the students that will be in leadership positions in the future hence the need to care for the now so that the country can have healthy leaders in the future. Moreover, if no action is taken as soon as possible, there will be a shortage of children to take up future top jobs and to be able to apply whatever they learn in the colleges to help the government as most of them will lose their lives due to the complications that come with the continuous consumption of fast foods. The government should also educate the people on the importance of proper dieting especially to the young people. It should also make the public know the dangers that come with such foods.
Haskivtz, Sylvia. Eat by Choice, Not by Habit: Practical Skills for Creating a Healthy Relationship with Your Body and Food. Chicago: PuddleDancer Press, 2009.
Insel, Paul, et al. Nutrition. New York: Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2010.
Scholesser, Eric. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
Williams, Gareth and Gema Fruhbeck. Obesity: science to practice. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2009.