It is no secret that America tops the list of fattest nations. In fact, it is one of the largest stereotypes facing the people of the United States. Yet for the first time, competition has emerged from other nations like Mexico, New Zealand, and Chile and it may even be due to U.S. markets. Both fast food and drug markets are spreading globally, and consequently, so is obesity. With obesity, of course, come related health issues, especially diabetes, which is where the pharmaceutical companies swoop in to save the day while churning out incredible profits.

The leading cause of death in the US is heart disease, with stroke following close behind, as well as type 2 diabetes. Obesity can contribute to all of these deaths, and increases in these deaths are being observed worldwide. Large drug companies are reaping the benefits of these illnesses by selling high cholesterol medications as well as heart attack and stroke prevention drugs.

Household name food industries, such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, Taco Bell, and Burger King are globalized and are surely contributing to the overwhelming influx in worldwide obesity. McDonald’s alone operates in 119 countries, totaling over 34,000 restaurants worldwide. This globalization has boosted many industries and provided a lot of profit-building opportunities, but at a large cost: the health of consumers.

How can these markets continue to take advantage of this global expansion without harming their clientele? Several ways are to lower sodium content in the food, cut out saturated fats, or decreasing portion size. However, this would put the pharmaceutical companies at a disadvantage. It’s a rather difficult tradeoff for US companies to make, but it could help spare the lives of consumers abroad.

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