Fast Food Enclosing the Urban Market


The global health ramifications of the overall addiction to inexpensive, easy calories have been extensively chronicled; Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me investigated the public health consequences of our fast food addiction. The enormity of America’s obesity issue gives the sense that fast food is an equal-opportunity American encounter, for better or worse.

It isn’t: Obesity prevalence is disproportionately high among people of color, particularly children, who reside in metropolitan areas. This gap points to a more significant structural issue, one brought on bylaws that allowed fast food to enter the urban market. Since the late 1960s, the government has backed small company lending to assist fast-food chains to grow into cities.
The typical fast-food story takes place in the 1950s, with burger joints springing up in the after suburbs and along interstates. On the other hand, fast food establishments are now a ubiquitous part of the American metropolitan landscape. The city was a next step for the fast-food industry in the 1970s, notably because nationwide marketing had made the big companies household identities before stores had even reached neighborhoods. Fast food was able to develop due to the city’s structure. Lunchtime rushes in commercial areas might compensate for slow weekends, and prompt service could manage densely populated urban areas.

The company’s success was possibly excessive. Fast food franchises became more successful than grocery shops due to their low real estate requirements, which required less overhead and parking space. Combining that with the franchise structure makes it simpler to qualify for loans because the business name was licensed to privately owned restaurants.
Although the health impacts of being close to fast food are a focus of federal policy, the health implications of being close to fast food are often disregarded. Fast food franchises’ design—and their widespread presence in places that may otherwise be classified as “food deserts”—helped solidify their crucial positions in low-income areas.

As you might imagine, medical research reveals that fast food availability is a public health issue. You’re more prone to becoming a fast foods consumer if you live, work, or go to school near one. Communities of color tend to have more fast food businesses, making up a more significant share of eating alternatives in such neighborhoods. Closing the neighborhood burger joint, on the other hand, isn’t a viable option.