The Fast Food Industry, Obesity and Marketing at Children Worthy of exploration

The Fast Food Industry, Obesity and Marketing at Children Worthy of exploration


Secondary Research: The Fast Food Industry, Obesity and Marketing at Children

Worthy of exploration

More and more people are overweight and this leads to health problems. There has been a push to combat obesity by placing healthier food in schools. Nevertheless, marketing  towards children by the fast food industry has not stopped. Since opening in 1940, the success of Mcdonald’s as a fast food corporation has been outstanding. When it first opened it was just a small burger joint, but now it can be found in most countries. It has been a corporation that has achieved a great deal of success but only because of its loyal customers. The corporation owns restaurants in over 119 countries and was the leader in making fast food accessible and cheap over the past 50 years. Due to the vast expansion of restaurants across the globe, Mcdonald’s has been highly profitable. However, a lot of Mcdonald’sfood are unhealthy. Should there be stricter policies on fast food? Should these large companies be able to advertise to children even though these foods can harm people?

Research question formulated from readings

There are numerous approaches this study could take. For example, some of the questions that pop up when reading through the research on this topic are: what is the relationship between fast food marketing strategies and obesity? Is there a way to legally combat fast food chains like Mcdonald’s and hold them responsible for the harmful food they provide? Are portion sizes the issue? Do fast food chains like Mcdonald’s have the power to influence to overindulge? All of these questions come out of the research that was conducted on this subject. All of these questions come up as looking through the research on the topic, but what’s the core research question? The real question is, is there a way to prevent obesity by combatting these fast food giants like Mcdonald’s? It is overwhelming when you think of the amount of power and money the fast food industry has. Mcdonald’s seems to have taken so many opportunities presented to them, they keep expanding and when it comes to international global presence, they continue to offer more stores in new places in the world. They have just announced they will be adding more stores in Russia but at what cost? What price is society paying for fast food?

Research design

Secondary research will be collected on this topic. This research will look at different articles to understand this problem and give a review of all of these perspectives. The first article looks at Mcdonald’s restaurants and the different law suits that have been filed against them as related to obesity. This article looks at legal aspects of the problem and brings into question the ability for the legal system to combat this fast food giant. The article questions the food industry and how vulnerable it is to legal action. Another aspect will consider another article on obesity and portion sizes in the fast food industry. One article in particular will look at manufacturers portion sizes and how they have changed over the years. It will show how there needs to be more done when it comes to fighting large fast food chains. All of the articles that will be discussed as part of the secondary research are listed below. This approach is a way to understand what has already been written on the topic but where future research needs to be taken. Journal articles and books will be reviewed and synthesized for the completion of this project.

Secondary Research Articles

Robinson, M. G., Bloom, P. N., & Lurie, N. H. (2005). Combating obesity in the courts: will lawsuits against McDonald’s work?.Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 24(2), 299-306.

Cusatis, D. C., & Shannon, B. M. (1996). Influences on adolescent eating behavior.Journal of Adolescent Health, 18(1), 27-34.

Caldwell, M. L. (2005). The cultural politics of food and eating. J. L. Watson (Ed.). Blackwell Publ..

Gearhardt, A. N., Grilo, C. M., DiLeone, R. J., Brownell, K. D., & Potenza, M. N. (2011). Can food be addictive? Public health and policy implications.Addiction, 106(7), 1208-1212.

Young, L. R., & Nestle, M. (2007). Portion sizes and obesity: responses of fast-food companies. Journal of public health policy, 28(2), 238-248.

Ludwig, D. S., & Nestle, M. (2008). Can the food industry play a constructive role in the obesity epidemic?.Jama, 300(15), 1808-1811.

Romero, S. J. (2004). Obesity Liability: A Super-Sized Problem or a Small Fry in the Inevitable Development of Product Liability. Chap. L. Rev., 7, 239.


Limits and scope of project

The project will consider the problems that the food industry has with portion sizes, how this relates to the obesity epidemic in North America, and the culture of obesity in this part of the world. It will consider Mcdonald’s as the target company to consider because it is the most well known fast food giant. Although other companies like Wendy’s, KFC, and Subway are all contributing to the fast food market and obesity problems that come with it, Mcdonald’s will be the target.

Desired outcome

Obesity is preventable and health care costs are through the roof because of food related problems. Every doctor will tell you that eating healthy and exercising regularly only helps the health of any patient. Reducing the intake of fast food will help the health of children and adults. There are ways to catch the attention of kids through marketing and Mcdonald’s knows how to do this well. Ronald Mcdonald is the mascot of Mcdonald’s who kids love. Obviously parents have the ultimate say when it comes to what restaurant their family will dine at, but kids can have a voice. If children know they can get a happy meal with a toy at Mcdonalds or vegetables with no toy, they will choose very easily.

Value and Significance of research

There needs to be more awareness around the fast food industry and the problems its creating for society. A desired outcome of this project is to look critically at marketing fast food at children through the lens of the Mcdonald’s corporations business model. The research will take into question how marketing can lead to obesity and ways to move forward because this problem is known but not much is being done about it.

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