The Fast Food Frenzy: A National Nutrition Month Report - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

The Fast Food Frenzy: A National Nutrition Month Report

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Pennsylvania ranks 20th on the list of obese states, and childhood obesity is going up.

During this National Nutrition Month, we talked to people in our area about one of the perceived culprits: the fast food industry.

As some states see a downward trend in obesity rates, in Pennsylvania the numbers are rising, according the Centers for Disease Control.

The so-called "obesity epidemic" in America is often blamed, at least in part, on the fast food industry.

"I know it is terrible for me and contains mostly not real food," said Matt Turczi of Erie.  He tries to stay away from fast food, but admitted Taco Bell is his weakness.

"It's popular but I think we sacrifice a lot of nutritional things," said Girard native Thomas Brendan, who said he eats fast food about once a week.

Seemingly innocent burgers and golden delicious fries are loaded with enough calories and fat  to make any nutritionist cringe.

We know fast foods not the best for us, but hundreds, if not thousands of cars still go through any given drive- thru in Erie, every day.

So why do we do it?

Young Annalise Sansone of Erie voiced something most of us probably agree with: "It tastes good ."

But aside from just pleasing your taste buds, another big draw is the efficiency, especially for busy families.

"It's convenient," said Brandon, "I work second shift, I work late hours."

"When you have like soccer practice or cheerleading practice, it's nice to just get something to eat real quick," said Sansone, who mentioned that her chains of choice are Chick- Fil-A and McDonald's.

A college kid will tell you that the real "value" in a "value meal", is saving time. 

"As college students we have a lot of studying to do and a lot of people have classes all throughout the day and so it's really nice... to just go out and pick up something quick to eat,"
said Gannon Student  Haley Phillips.

Several fast food chains have made an effort to get in on the fit- friendly trend, by offering healthier options.

But, some say that's probably not what has people in line.

"It might help a little bit but a lot of people go get fast food to get something that they think tastes good," said Phillips.

From those we talked to, it seems the best way to get out of the habit is to get reacquainted with your kitchen.

"We eat at home a lot more," said Mary Beth Conaway of Clarion, Pa.

"I try to pack myself a healthy lunch," said Matt Turczi of Erie, "and pursue healthy alternatives when I don't pack my own lunch."

During this National Nutrition Month of March, you can find healthy tips for you and your family online at www.eatright.org

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