Responding to what their research tells them people want, major fast-food franchises have begun to offer massive, fat-filled, heart-attack sandwiches to their customers. At the same time, national expenditures for obesity-related illnesses are skyrocketing, most of it funded by taxpayers.
The trend was started by Hardee's with its "Monster Thickburger", pictured above. It boasts two 1/3-pound slabs of beef, four strips of bacon, three slices of American cheese and a slathering of mayonnaise on a buttered, toasted, sesame seed bun. This monstrosity packs 1400 calories and 107 grams of fat. No word on the total damage when jumbo fries and soft drink are included.
"The original 'Monster Burger' was one of our most popular menu items," saysBrad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Hardee's. "But it's now a 'Thickburger.'"
Not to be outdone, Burger King debuted its "Enormous Omelet Sandwich" last Monday. It has one sausage patty, two eggs, two cheese slices and three strips of bacon. That works out to 730 calories and 47 grams of dripping, artery-clogging fat.
The purpose of this post is not to demonize the fast-food industry. We are merely highlighting this trend to demonstrate that Americans are demanding these types of foods even as they find it ever more difficult to leverage their fat rumps out of their cars and drag themselves into the restaurants.
As the trend toward Supermegajumbo Grease Burgers continues, another trend will continue as well: Supermegajumbo medical bills.
New research shows the health care costs associated with obesity now outstrip those attributable to smoking. Federal statistics show that nearly 60% of Americans are obese or overweight, and that number has grown dramatically over the last decade. Not only that, but obesity rates among children are at an all-time high.
Illnesses associated with obesity are driving medial costs to unprecedented levels with no end in sight. According to research, these costs totaled up to $75 billion last year, and government-funded public insurers Medicare and Medicaid (that means you) financed about half of those expenses.
"Our whole health care system is screwed up," says Governor Mike Huckabee, who won his own personal war against obesity and now serves as a national role model. "We pay people to get sick. We do nothing for them to stay healthy. That's completely wrong. We should be creating incentives for individuals to lead a healthy lifestyle rather than pour money into a program that pays for sickness."