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Posted on June 13th, 2012, by

The modern society has achieved a really great progress and has reached such a level of development that has never been reached before in the past. At the same time, the modern civilization is characterized not only by numerous benefits, scientific and technological advances that make human life easier, better, and more comfortable, but it is also characterized by problems which has never been so serious or so widely spread before. One of such problems that affect practically all developed countries, including Australia, is the problem of obesity. In actuality, the problem of obesity in Australia acquires an epidemic character and obesity has already been proclaimed as a national epidemic that threatens to the national security. Nowadays, the entire society is exposed to this great problem that needs immediate solution. Otherwise, it will become a serious burden not only to the national health but also to the national economy which already loses billions of dollars because of obesity. In such a situation, it is necessary to find out what the causes of the problem of obesity are and who is responsible for the rapid spread of this epidemic.

First of all, it should be said that there may be drawn a variety of factors that influence the human health and actually cause the problem of obesity. Basically, they may be divided into tow major groups. On the one hand, there are objective factors that are caused by the changed lifestyle. Practically, it means that modern people lead a more sedative way of life than their ancestors even a few decades ago did. Naturally, the decrease in activities and sedative lifestyle contribute to the violation of the normal functioning of human digestion system and the share of fats in human body do not decrease but, instead is accumulated in the result of passive lifestyle.

On the other hand, there is more serious problem, it is the food culture and food consumption that cannot be fully referred to objective factors since modern food consumption is, to a significant extent imposed to consumers by marketers. To put it more precisely, instead of traditional food, fast food restaurants are widely promoted contributing to the formation of erroneous stereotypes and models of behavior in food consumption process.

Practically, it means that along with the growing rhythm of human life, which really becomes rapid, the marketers have launched to promote the idea that people living fast’ life need fast food. In other words, nowadays, people have less time on food consumption and, thus, they need to spend less time on eating. In such a situation, marketers’ promotion of fast food restaurants was very attractive for customers. In fact, fast food means that the food in these restaurants is manufactured and served up as quickly as possible it has to be eaten quickly too (Schmied and Lupton 2001:241). As a result, gradually fast food restaurants as McDonald’s KFC, and others gained a great popularity of customers.

However, the numerous researches revealed the fact fast food is extremely dangerous for human health and is one of the major causes of obesity. In this respect, it should be said that food sold in fast food restaurants consists of the ingredients which actually do not really decrease hunger. For instance, 48% of a quarter-pounder’ is water. In such a way fast food may be viewed as a sort of fake food that encourages over-eating, and the high sugar and sodium content can make people develop a kind of addiction a craving’ (Paeratakul 2002:26). Thus, it is quite natural that these habits gradually lead to the development of obesity among the consumers of fast food. Moreover, it can be simply dangerous for human health because of the use of different chemical ingredients. For instance, McDonald’s require that their fresh lettuce leaf is treated with twelve different chemicals just to keep it the right color at the right crispness for the right length of time (Milligan et al 1998:485).

Furthermore, it should be said that, as a rule, the major ingredient of fast food dishes is meat. In this respect, it is worthy of mention that meat is responsible for 70% of all food-poisoning incidents, with chicken and minced meat being the worst offenders (Sjostedt 1998:138). Moreover, even though fast food restaurants basically use meat from Australian farmers it is nonetheless still potentially dangerous since, as certain researches show, farmers routinely inject animals with doses of antibiotics as well as growth-promotion hormone drugs and pesticide residues in their feed, so that all this build up in the animals’ tissues and can further damage the health of people on a meat-based diet (Duenwald 2002:46).

Consequently, it is obvious that the ingredients of fast food and the way the food is consumed can lead to the development of obesity. Nonetheless, it is possible to argue that it is actually not the marketers’ fault but rather the problem of people who choose this kind of food. However, in actuality, this argument turns to be extremely weak and not convincing. The reason is quite obvious the modern fast food restaurants simply impose the consumption of fast food to customers.

Basically, it is possible to trace several ways in which the unhealthy food, which contributes to obesity, is promoted.

First of all, it should be said that the marketers attempt to create the positive image of the fast food they sell to masses of people. In fact, in the modern society fast food consumption has become a norm and it is not because people really are so fond of fast food but rather because of the effective promotional campaign organized by marketers.

In this respect, it should be said that one of the major reasons of the popularity of fast food is the price. Obviously, fast food is substantially cheaper than healthy’ food produced from the products of organic farming, for instance.

This is why the pricing of fast food stimulates consumption and even over-consumption that is quite natural if the consistency of fast food is taken into consideration.

Secondly, it should be said that fast food function really well and people who prefer going into fast food can always be sure that they will be served fast that is really important to those people who do not have much time to spend on eating. At the same time, fast food restaurants, regardless the facts of numerous researches, attempt to underline that their food is good or even useful for human health. In other words, marketers do not provide customers with the sufficient information about the food they sell, presumably arguing that they do not want to reveal their secrets of food production. Naturally, the lack of information about the products people eat in fast food in a combination with the constant declaration of marketers concerning safety of fast food to human health contribute to the steady popularity of fast food.

Furthermore, often marketers protecting the image of fast food attempt to draw the public attention to the lifestyle as the major factor contributing to obesity but, in actuality, it is obvious that the basic cause of obesity is still fast food which actually creates erroneous habits and food culture that along with sedative lifestyle increase the risk of obesity.

It is also worthy of mention that marketers intentionally target at children as their most perspective audience and major consumers. For instance, McDonald’s is promoted as a family restaurant. At the same time, it is underline that children, as a target audience of the promotion of marketers, are more susceptible to external influences than adults and they cannot fully realize the dangerous of fast food consumption promoted amply in Australian media, including television, especially children program. In such a way, marketers shape children food habits and food culture since early childhood. No wonder that they prefer to go to fast food restaurants where the consumption of meal is promoted as a fun event and turns the act of eating into performance, with the glamour (Colburn 1999:77). As a result, children are dramatically affected by the promotion of fast food and its advertising to the extent that they force their parents to go to fast food restaurants too. It should be said that parents often cannot resist to their children’s desire to have a meal in McDonald’s or any other fast food restaurant.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the modern problem of obesity in Australia, being extremely serious, is basically predetermined by fast food consumption. At the same time, it is necessary to underline that it is not only the individual choice of consumers but rather the choice imposed by marketers who successfully promote fast food. In fact, it is marketers that define the pricing of fast food, organize advertising campaign, and attract customers. Consequently, as fast food is one of the major causes of obesity, it is marketers who are really responsible for this problem in Australia, as well as in other countries of the world.

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