There is an interesting debate going on in society right now regarding the impact of fast food on the growth of obesity among children. McDonald's, in particular, has responded to this growing trend that suggests that McDonald's should be held accountable for the health problems of obese people who eat the food at their restaurant.
This is a big topic in marketing, consumer behavior and advertising, because there is a suggestion in this accusation that successful advertising has contributed to an increase in the rate of obese children especially in America. There is also a suggestion that consumers do not has free choice or take personal responsibility for their food choices that in some way McDonald's is responsible for luring these people into the franchise. As if they were inclined to buy this food, exclusively, because it is less expensive than other food.
The topic lends itself to analysis, you could examine consumer behavior, which is a psychological study of the buying habits of people, and measure the level of responsibility that advertising plays in influencing the decision of the consumer.
Does advertising really motivate to a hypnotic level the customer so that he cannot resist the urge to buy the product? Is McDonald's really brainwashing their customers into a life of health problems because they come to the franchise to eat Big Macs, french fries and milkshakes?
It is a fascinating question to consider, at what point does the individual become less responsible for his behavior due to the influence of advertising? And, can successful advertising be blamed for the increase in obese children who eat McDonalds?
Keep in mind that McDonalds responded to this accusation by adding healthy food choices to their menu. They offer choices in kids meals, milk instead of soda, fruit instead of french fries, salads are on the menu, grilled chicken, yogurt. But statistics show that most people go to McDonald's for the burgers, fries and shakes. In fact, the fries are the best selling product in the restaurant.
There are many websites that will give you detailed information about this topic. Also, the book Fast Food Nation is a good source as is the movie Supersize Me.