Home » Supersize me » SuperSize Me Essay Examples

SuperSize Me Essay Examples

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 are to certainly 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 needed to throw it out to stop me from eating it. As a culture, we need to look at these foods they way we look at alcohol. Something that is to be enjoyed in moderation, but if it used in excess, it is very dangerous. I think the smoking analogy is flawed however, because smoking is not something to be used even in moderation.

I personally think a significant impact on the obesity problem is not caused solely by fast food but by processed food in general. Morgan tells of remembering his mother cooking fresh food every day when he was growing up. I don’t think any of us can say that about our households today. Our country consumes mass quantities of processed foods. According to McDonalds’ legal documents it is “a matter of common knowledge that any processing that its foods undergo serve to make them more harmful than unprocessed foods.” To me there is a direct inverse relationship between the amount a food is processed and how healthy it is. It is not just the fast food companies who use processed foods. According to a kitchen worker at the Park Middle School in Beckley, West Virginia the “best tool we got is the box opener” to open boxes of food to be reheated and reconstituted. The fast food corporations could be using all fresh food, but regardless of the health considerations, their overwhelming concern is about the bottom line and how much profit they can make. It is a simple fact that it is faster and cheaper to use processed food and they are more concerned with making a buck than keeping us healthy. I found the school program in Appleton, Wisconsin a much more uplifting story. They offer food that is low fat, low sugar, with lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. There is no frying, no candy, no soda, just lots of fresh preparation of healthy foods with a significant positive impact. My favorite part is that it costs about the same as other schools’ far less healthy offerings. Sadly there is huge resistance from the major food corporations to move toward such programs because they make millions selling us crap. It is just this type of diet I try to duplicate for my son at home. Note I said try, we still live in a world where the word “fries” lights his face up, but I shall continue to try.
In regards to healthcare, the obesity crisis is very real and it is the health problems facing overweight kids that frighten me the most.

Super Size Me gives a scary list of complications in later life for children and adolescents who are overweight or obese. Dr. William Klish MD, the Head of Department of Medicine at Texas Children’s Hospital, states that if type II diabetes starts before the age of 15 you lose somewhere between 17 and 27 years of the lifespan. It doesn’t get any scarier than that. Also according to Dr, Klish 20% of obese children show signs of scarring of the liver fibrosis of the liver early stages of cirrhosis of the liver. This is very similar to the liver damage that Morton experienced during his little experiment it shows just how dangerous this stuff can be if not used in moderation. Super Size Me also points out our society proclivity to sick care as opposed to health care. I think that it is just embarrassing that our culture would rather wait until we need our stomachs stapled instead of putting the work necessary to get a healthy lifestyle.
Super Size Me makes it very clear that the big food corporation’s greed has its greatest impact on our children. All the major food companies attempt to lures in young children whether with Ronald McDonald the clown or some other insipid angle. Prof. Browning states that every year American child sees 10,000 food advertisements a year and 95% are for sugared cereals, fast food, soft 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.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this essay please select a referencing style below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Leave a Comment