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 foods found in his meal. I think Morgan?s going from a healthy diet to the extreme one of his experiment is no different than going on an alcohol or drug binge, with similar physical consequences. Like with a drug, Morgan seemed to enjoy the immediate experience, but had to deal with significant repercussions afterward. Recently, I went to Sonic and had myself a big ?ol tasty burger and a Cookie Dough dessert. At first, I was really enjoying my burger but about two thirds of the way through it; I was beginning to feel the consequences. As for that dessert, I had about five bites and then I...