Fast Food And Our Health Essay Contest

Essay Contest

About the Contest

The Lasker Essay Contest engages young scientists and clinicians in a discussion about big questions in biology and medicine, and the role of biomedical research in our society today.  The Contest aims to build skills in communicating important medical and scientific issues to broader audiences.  The Essay Contest topics are announced annually no later than the second week of February and can be found on this webpage.

The topic of the 2018 Essay Contest is: How can social media help build trust in science and the research enterprise? Your answer should include a discussion of the benefits and challenges of your recommendations. 

The deadline to submit all materials is March 30, 2018. Winners will be announced in early July on our web site.

Eligibility

The Contest is open to medical school students, interns, residents, and fellows; doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in biomedical research; graduate students in public health programs; and graduate students in other health professions programs.  The 2018 Essay Contest is open to both US and international applicants, including those from programs outside the US.

Prizes 

First-place award is $10,000 and an expense-paid trip (economy class travel and one-night hotel stay) to New York City to meet the 2018 Lasker Award winners (on September 21, 2018). Second- and third-place prizes are $5000 and $2500, respectively. All monetary prizes are to be used towards educational expenses.

Guidelines

Essays should be of 800 words or less and must be written in English. The file containing the essay should include the essay title and the applicant's name, email, and institutional affiliation. Figures and references are not required but one image (uploaded separately) and up to 10 references (included within the text body) may be submitted. Specific examples from the world of biomedical research should be included in your essay to illustrate your ideas more effectively. Field-specific scientific jargon should be avoided or explained.

Evaluation criteria

Essays will be evaluated based on 1) the innovation of the ideas and proposals and 2) how well these ideas are conveyed, i.e. the quality of writing, style, and clarity. Essays that are not written in English or are longer than 800 words will not be considered. 


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2017 essay contest and winners

2016 essay contest and winners

2015 essay contest and winners

2014 essay contest and winners


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Fast food is a type of food that is prepared and served within a few minutes. It is very convenient to buy it when you are busy and want to eat on the move running to the important meeting. As usually, there are proponents and opponents of such a convenience food. Of course, this so-called street food has its advantages and disadvantages. To pros, I would include the fact that it can spare the time of a lot of working mothers and fathers, who cannot find the time even to take a shower, to say nothing about the proper meal. There are also people, who travel on business and do not want to leave the car. The only thing they need to do is to approach a drive-through window and place an order. No need to browse a vast menu and wait for hours. The prices in such places are also very loyal due to the high-level competition. They also make their portions bigger in order to land customers and remain in the market.

Some people are not in favor of eating and drinking in strange places. They are also afraid of getting sick during the vacation. The only way out for them during the trips is to find the outlet of the chain of restaurants, where the standards of quality are the same. It is always better to sneak something than just leave your body without any nourishment for more than six hours thus slowing your metabolism and spoiling the digestion for the whole life.

For people, who care about their weight, shape and always count calories, these restaurants have already come up with special offers. Now we can find vast varieties of salads on their menus, pasta from durum wheat flour, which is high in protein and strong gluten and fruit smoothies. The salad dressing is optional as well. But on the other hand, who can resist an impulse to buy a juicy burger and opt for the low-fat salad looking at the billboards near the restaurants? Regular consuming of such calorie dense foods can result in quick weight gain. It increases the risk of developing diabetes, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and a lot of other obesity-related diseases. Despite the fact the standards of sanitary requirements are extremely high, it is difficult to control everything due to the very large scale of products that are being prepared.

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It is also well-known that such restaurants keep in secret the ingredients from which the hamburgers and chicken nuggets are made. Rumor has it that they put into them everything with the exception of meat. It is made from byproducts at best. But most likely, they use GM soybeans, thus exposing consumers to the risk of developing cancer and fertility problems. And the mystery of French fries that never decompose still remains unsolved. There are a lot of people, who cannot imagine a day without the meal that includes French fries, cheeseburger, and a cola. Some of them are aware of the danger of consuming junk food regularly, and some of them have already faced the consequences. Of course, one meal in a month will not affect our health, but few are able to leave it at that.

So, we ought to think twice before grabbing a Happy Meal, especially when we are buying it for our children. Kids are always tempted by the additionally provided small toy. The McDonald’s policy allows us to purchase it separately. Thus, we can make the child happy and save his health at the same time.

There is a quote: “One should eat to live, not live to eat”. So, it means that we do not have to pay so much attention to the food anyway. And even more, there are a lot of people who eat junk food, drink alcohol, smoke and are full of health and strength. And there are people, who take care of themselves, lead a healthy life, get regular check-ups and die early. No one can become immune to death regardless of how much he or she tries. But if you have time to watch what you are eating, it is better to use this opportunity and not to push the luck blaming the restaurants for tempting you with yummy snacks.

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