01/08/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Every Monday Matters: No Fast Food, The Billion Dollar Killer


Today, $120+ billion is spent every year on fast food, compared to $6 billion in 1970.

30% of children's meals consist of fast food.

24% of high schools offer popular fast-food brands.

1 in 5 children between the ages of 6 and 17 are overweight.

There is a 79% likelihood of adult obesity if a person is overweight during adolescence.

Large portions, value meals, and "supersizing" create serving sizes that are double and triple the recommended daily allowance.

Billions of dollars are spent every year on fast food advertising targeted at children.


1. Don't eat fast food today.

2. Start the habit of switching one fast food meal per week to a healthier alternative.

3. On days you do eat fast food, ask for small sizes.

4. Never supersize your meal.

5. Get prepared - go to the store and buy fresh or organic food.

6. Plan meals at least a few days in advance. Pack a healthy lunch or cook dinner at home today.

With each fast-food feast, you significantly increase you carbohydrate and fat intake, as well as your calorie count. It's time to make your health more important. Plan your meals, simplify your schedule, cook and eat dinner as a family. Fast food may save you minutes in your day, but it is taking years off your life...most chains don't advertise that on their "value" menu.


Gayle Hancock of Boston, Massachusetts, learned something recently that shocked her. She always saw herself as a great mother to her children - loving, attentive, involved, and supportive. But she realized that she was unaware of a major aspect of her children's life...what they were putting in their mouths during the school day.

"I always prepare healthy meals at home. We start our day with a healthy breakfast and always have a nice dinner together as a family," shared Gayle. "The kids always said they ate a healthy lunch, so I assume they did, but I was a bit shocked when I saw what they meant."

Last week was Parent Day at her children's elementary school, so Gayle and her husband were allowed to come on campus to have lunch with their two children.

"We got to experience what it was like to be a student. We grabbed a tray, waited in line, picked out our food, and sat down together at one of the long cafeteria tables. Sitting together as a family and meeting more of their friends was a real highlight for us," stated Gayle. "It was the menu choices that made us sick to our stomachs...both literally and figuratively."

On this particular day, the options were pizza, cheeseburgers, or burritos as the main course, with chips or fries for a side, and ice cream or cookies for dessert. And to wash it all down, they had a fountain drink machine.

"We were rather upset by the whole thing. There was nothing of nutritional value. It was like walking through a drive-thru at a fast food chain," acknowledged Gayle. "We were shocked."

Parent Day may have been the best thing that could have happened for Gayle's children and all of their classmates. Not only does Gayle now pack a healthy lunch for her children every morning, but she is also working with some of the other mothers and the school district to improve the nutritional value of the food being offered during lunch.

Gayle, thank you for taking the time to invest in your children's health and well-being. You matter.

Please visit to buy the book, get involved, and share your stories about making a difference in the world. You matter.