Morgan Spurlock?s Super Size Me

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Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me

After watching Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me it became even clearer to me that there is an obesity crisis in this country. While this was not news to me; I was surprised by Dr. Satcher, the former U.S. Surgeon General, stating that 'left unabated obesity will surpass smoking as the number one preventable cause of death in this country.' Morgan Spurlock focused his attention on McDonalds in his documentary, but I think to simply blame the fast food companies grossly simplifies the issue. The obesity crises in this country is a lifestyle issue, big food corporations may be partially to blame, but lifestyle is something that is culturally decided not solely foisted upon us by the corporate world.

The obesity problem in this country has gotten worse, a lot worse, and the surge in obesity can be tied directly to fast food. I was appalled by the fact that since 1980 the number of people either fat of obese has doubled, and in that time frame there are twice as many overweight children and three times as many overweight adolescents. Looking strictly at the numbers, it is very easy to find a direct correlation between the number of overweight or obese individuals and the number of fast food establishments. However these fast food outlets are not created in a vacuum, they are servicing a demand. Each day one in four Americans visits a fast food restaurant. Our culture has evolved to one of immediate gratification, we want it convenient, and we want it now. The fast food industry has simply seized that cultural demand and has taken advantage of it all the way to the bank. I think we have a cultural weakness that looks for someone to blame for our problems and McDonalds certainly makes a nice target.

I think Super Size Me poses a very interesting question in asking if fat is the next tobacco. It is clear that obesity is a very serious health issue but to me the real concern is whether we should consider unhealthy food items such as fat and sugar the same way we consider drugs and alcohol. According to Kelly Browning PhD of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, ?we live in a toxic environment of unhealthy food.? Morgan reacts to his first super size meal as his body would physically react to an overdose of toxic matter and he throws up. His body had in essence no tolerance for the fat and sugar and other processed...

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...oft drinks, or candy. Parents like me trying to give their children a healthy example are overwhelmed just as the 5-a-Day campaign?s $2 Million advertising media budget is overwhelmed by McDonald?s $1.4 Billion media budget. Morgan Spurlock jokingly suggests fighting fast food?s impact on his child by punching the child in the face every time they pass a fast food restaurant to attach a negative association to fast food. Instead I plan to show Super Size Me to my child when he is old enough to understand it, as should all responsible parents.

The obesity crisis has been muddled over a concern about the line between corporate and personal responsibility. More than 60% of Americans get no form of exercise whatsoever and at the same time we super size everything. The fast food chains are not forcing us to super size and consume these mass quantities, they are simply responding to the market. Just as we as a society are slowly recognizing the dangers of smoking, we must recognize the dangers of a high fat, high sugar diet that is paired with a sedentary lifestyle. Culturally we need to step up to the plate and see that there is a huge problem and then see what we can do about it.

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