Would you like asthma with that?

Researchers have recently discovered, that eating fast food was linked with higher rates of asthma and eczema in children, and that “fast food was the only dietary category shown to have an association with the disorders”. This wasn’t some piddly-ass micro research with potentially skewed results, either. This was “a study of 319,000 teens in 51 countries and 181,000 children ages 6 and 7 in 31 countries”, and it found that teenagers “who ate three or more weekly servings” of fast food “had a 39 percent increased chance of developing severe asthma, while younger children had a 27 percent higher risk”. That is a hella significant statistical difference, y’all.

Why does fast food cause these health problems? Probably because that shit has “high levels of trans fatty acids, which are known to affect immune reactions”. The only good news is that “eating three or more servings of fruit a week showed reduced risk in developing those conditions”.  Yay team fruit! Too bad fruit is so much more expensive than calorie-dense fast food.

So who eats the most fast food? A lot of papers have been trumpeting the news that people in the “middle class” are more likely to eat fast food than the very poor, because fast food chains do not except food stamps and even the modest prices at McDonalds are out of reach for the truly impoverished. However, a deeper look shows that fast food consumption declines after a family makes $60,000/year. That means that the middle class families who make less than that are consuming a lot of fast food. If you are a family of four and your income is only $45 K a year, you have a very tight budget in most areas. Fast food is cheap, and it is easy to get if both parents have been working their ass off all day and are too tired to cook.

People who make more than $80,000 a year also consume a lot of fast food … but that includes restaurants like Chipotle and coffee houses like Starbucks. Yes, the food there is bad for your health, but if you are buying pastries at Starbucks on your way to the office it is hardly the same things as a single parent feeding his or her kids Burger King four times a week because it is cheaper and easier than grocery shopping and cooking. I call shenanigans on that study, since it seems to draw false equivalencies.

Basically, cheap fast food, which is cheap in part because the government subsidizes the shit that goes into it but doesn’t give a rat’s ass about subsidizing fruits and veggies, is what many people can afford to eat but is also harmful for their children. It all goes back to the systemic issues such as the devaluation of “women’s work” like childcare and the subsequent non-family-friendly working environment, the fiscal governmental support of money-making operations that are not beneficial to children but are really good for the 1%, and the American resistance to the idea that food and nutrition are just as important to health as biomedicine and pharmaceuticals.   

The host on Mammon’s alter was clearly gotten at a drive-thru.

About Betty Fokker

I'm a stay-at-home feminist mom.
This entry was posted in health, motherhood, shit I think y'all should know. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Would you like asthma with that?

  1. My problem here is not just that fruit is more expensive; it’s taste-free. There’s not much organics and what there is costs a fortune.
    I bought an organic navel orange at the local Amish-type store recently. 95 cents for one orange, which I would pay more frequently except the store is not convenient to get to.
    It reminded me, though, of driving through California, getting oranges just picked from the tree and having the juice drip down my chin.
    That is one thing I really miss about both Albuquerque and SoCal.

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