Research Proposal – The Effects of Fast Food Restaurants and Increased Cases of Obesity in Children in the United States
Obesity has become an issue of great concern in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control (2013), more than 35.7% of American adults are obese, and that it is among the major causes of modern medical conditions like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and stroke. It also reported that the treatment of obesity is very costly for the country since it spends more than 4147 billion annually for medical treatment of the condition.
The statistics released by the American Heart Foundation (2013) indicate that there is consistent increase in obesity cases among children in the United States. The research shows that the number of children suffering from obesity has increased by more than five times unlike the situation in 1974, especially for those between the ages of five to seventeen years. As at 2013, the numbers have risen to an estimated 12.7 million individuals who were facing challenges in weight gain. Among them, 33% are boys while 30.4% are girls. This number is almost half of the total population of children within the age groups of two to nineteen who are 23.9 million. The obesity challenge is much lower in developing nations whose main problems include low levels of income, overpopulation, and lack of proper education, high rates of unemployment and poverty.
The increase in number of fast food restaurants in America is the main cause of the soaring levels of obesity cases in the United States.
- Has the increased number of fast food restaurants contributed to the rise in obesity cases in America?
- What kinds of food do you like?
- How often do you eat in a fast food restaurant?
- What influence do parents have in the consumption of fast food?
It is clear that children are the ones that are mostly affected and has since been a matter of public debate with stakeholders appearing to shift blames. Generally, it is assumed that the existence of fast food restaurants, with a number located within or in the neighborhoods of schools is among the key contributors of obesity. This has even made the policy makers to move swiftly to develop restrictive regulations for curbing the food content in the respective food vendors. However, this has not been fruitful. Even food manufacturer have been compelled to provide clear instructions on the percentages and quantities ingredients used to give confidence to the consumers. It is important to note that there is no comprehensive research evidence to prove that fast food restaurants are linked to the rise in the weight of children.
This paper aims to establish the existing link between this weight gain and the increase in the number of fast foods in the United States in the last ten years.
The study will use a quantitative design in data collection. The process of collecting data will be done through a survey questionnaire that will be designed to offer additional information from the school going children, on the way in which they consume fast foods and the correlation of that with their weights.
Ten schools will be randomly selected for analysis. Five of the schools will be from primary grade level while the others will be high schools. These will be ideal for targeting children between the ages of five to eighteen years. The questionnaire will mostly have closed ended questions. This will enable the respondents to answer either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the questions provided. The children can be asked a question like, Are you a frequent visitor at the fast food restaurants? Have you checked your weight in the last three months? If so, was there an increase? Do you visit fast food restaurants with your parents or guardians?
In the study, 100 parents will also be selected randomly, ten as representatives from every school in order to evaluate their contribution in the consumption of fast foods by the children. They will be identified and given questionnaires as they enter the school compound in the morning or in the evening as they drop and collect their children to and from school. The questions asked to the respondents will be both open and closed ended. The closed ended questions will require them to give response through a Yes or No. The questions for the parents of guardians will include: Are you aware of your child’s diet? Do you often take the child to fast food restaurants whenever the family goes out? Do you take notice of the weight of your child? Other open-ended questions in support of this quantitative study will help parents in providing further explanations that will aid the understanding of the underlying factors even better. This will include; what would you suggest as the reason behind your child’s weight gain?
Some of the questions will be arranged on a Likert scale so that they are able to award rankings of the various foods and restaurants that are frequently visited. The closed ended questions will then be thoroughly analyzed quantitatively through the most common statistical package software that is used for analysis, also called the SPSS. The quantitative approach would yield answers about the factors affecting their choice of fast foods and frequency to the fast food restaurants. The application of both qualitative and quantitative approaches maintains the validity of data.
The study will be focused on young children between the ages of five to nineteen years old, and also their parents.
The study will be on young children who are obese within the selected schools. The respondents are young to sign the consent forms that will enable them to take part in the quantitative study, therefore official permission will be requested from the school administration and their parents or guardians.
American Heart Foundation, . “Overweight & Obesity.” (2013): n. page. Print.
Center for Disease Control, . “Overweight and Obesity.” (2013): n. page. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.