Fast food has been found to increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Research (the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study) published in the Lancet in 2005, was based on data collected over a 15 year study. It was found that people who consumed fast food two or more times in a week gained weight and had a greater insulin resistance than those who ate it only once a week or less.
Fast food restaurants found to be near schools were directly linked to obesity in those schools. This same research by University of Berkeley in California in 2009 showed no link between obesity and other types of restaurants with nearby schools.
Fast Food is found to have high density of energy, with their sugary soft drinks and low fiber high and high energy density food. This excess energy is converted and stored as fat in the body. In other words, people who consume fast food consume significantly more calories, fats, sugars and proteins than those who do not eat fast food. This research on 9,000 people by the US Department of Agriculture in 2004 confirms the corelation between fast food and weight gain.
So while fast food maybe convenient for families and people to grab a high energy meal quickly, this convenience needs to be tempered with either a higher physical activity level or to controlled to a once a week event at the very least.
We need to bear in mind that childhood obesity is a serious problem in Malaysia and in the world today. Besides the western fast food, we should also cast an eye at the calories that a murtabak, fried rice, fried noodle or teh tarik contains.
As long as our food intake is unscheduled or is not watched as being vital to our health or our very survival, issues of obesity and obesity related diseases will abound. A weight loss program with the right group of people is important to ensure a successful and healthy weight loss plan for our life in this world.