National Junk Food Day was celebrated Saturday, though for many Americans it might as well be every day.
The strange and seemingly unnecessary holiday is celebrated July 21 and its origins are unclear, The Huffington Post noted when the day rolled around in 2009. Proponents use it as a chance to encourage people to visit McDonalds or indulge in some salty or sweet snacks, for whatever reason.
It seems a little silly for National Junk Food Day to celebrate terrible eating choices at a time when a little more than 35 percent of adults qualify as obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s also a problem Americans aren’t taking lightly. As NBC News pointed out, obesity is now seen as the biggest health concern for Americans, with 81 percent saying it was an “extremely” or “very serious” problem in a poll conducted by Gallup.
National Junk Food Day is leading other countries to poke fun at the United States. The Voice of Russia explained the day as a time when “even those people with excess weight and obesity allow themselves to eat as many junk food products as they like.” It’s OK Russia, they were probably going to do it anyway.
As the Houston Chronicle pointed out, exactly what qualifies as “junk food” is up to each individual person. For some it might be cheeseburgers or chicken nuggets, while others might county only the tasty-but-unfulfilling candies that find their way in between meals.
It might seem odd that there is any argument at all over whether deep-fried meats qualify as junk food, but again this is a country that needs scientific research to tell us that sports and walking make our kids healthier. And it’s also a country that feels it necessary to celebrate National Junk Food Day in the first place.