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I decided to watch the Super-Size Me documentary. This documentary was done by Morgan Spurlock in 2004. Many Americans eat fast food every day. It affects each individual in a different way, there were many lawsuits being filed because of the obesity and illness levels rising. There were two cases of two young teenage females who had grown tremendously from the age of 14 at the height of 4’10” and becoming 170 pounds and a 19-year-old at 5’6” growing to be 210 pounds. Obesity is the second leading cause to death right behind smoking. McDonalds is the biggest leading fast food chain. You can find one just about anywhere.
Morgan Spurlock goes on a journey to figure out if fast food is really the cause of America’s obesity rates. To start this experiment Morgan decides to go thirty days eating just McDonalds for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. To begin this journey, he first goes to see three different doctors: general practitioner, gastroenterologist and cardiologist. They give a full medical physical including weight, height, family history, and do numerous tests to make sure he is safe to go ahead and do this experiment and also have a baseline. He also goes to see a nutritionist to get a food log so he can record what he eats. He goes to see an exercise physiologist to see where he is in terms of physical health. He then starts his experiment.
Morgan lives in New York where there are a good many McDonalds, especially in Manhattan, this is where the most McDonalds are located. On day one, Morgan has an egg McMuffin for breakfast. For lunch, he has a BigMac meal. He makes rules for his experiment, over the next thirty days he can only eat from McDonalds and nowhere else. He also has to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He also has to supersize his meals, but only if they ask him. Dr. David Satcher says, the obesity crisis was a “national pandemic”. On day two, Morgan goes through the drive through and has a double quarter pounder with cheese meal and they ask him to supersize it. Halfway through his meal he is having a hard time consuming this meal. He begins to stuff it down because he has to finish it. At the end of this lunch meal, he explains the feelings and describes it as a “McStomach Ache” and having some “McGas”. He then later throws up this meal. Fast food has a big impact on American families, especially in children because it is something quick and easy to give them especially when families are always on the go. “In the last 20 to 25 years there has been a doubling of overweight and obese children in adolescents”. On Day five, he gets the two-cheeseburger meal and super sizes it. On day five, Morgan goes to see the nutritionist and he was given a 2,500-calorie intake to maintain his current weight of 185 pounds. A food analysis was done over the course of 5 days and it seems that he has been getting about 5,000 calories a day instead. For his weigh in he was at 194 pounds. Day 6, he travels to Los Angles and there he tries McNuggets. By Day 7, he started feeling pressure in his chest. Day 9, he felt depressed. Don Gorske, a Big Mac enthusiast had eaten big macs for a long time, having at least 3 a day. He got up to 19,000 Big Macs in 2004. There are 10,000 food advertisements per year for food. 95% of them are fast food or sugared candies and cereals.
By the middle of the experiment, Morgan went to different McDonalds to see if they had their nutrition sheets posted on walls or even visible for customers to see. In fact, most of them did not have nutrition facts to be found in the restaurant. When Morgan returned to the nutritionist, he had gained 17 pounds within his last visit. Morgan also went to the schools, where he believes fast food has an impact on kids there. He saw that most kids did not really eat a lot. Most got fries and sweets. He talked to a cook at the school and most items are frozen and just heated up to serve to the students. At another school for kids who are troubled, they changed the vending machines from sodas to water and healthier snacks. They noticed an improvement in student attitude and engagement. Morgan started experiencing fatigue and headaches by Day 19. He also started feeling happy only when eating. He also was making his liver fatty which could induce him to liver failure. This high-fat diet was just about killing him. Halfway through the experiment doctors were wanting him to stop before he caused himself harm. “At least 100 nutritionist were asked about eating fast food and only 2 said you should eat fast food two times a week or more, 28 said once a week to once or twice a month and 45 said you should never eat it, 95 of them agreed that it is a major contribution to obesity”. At the end of the experiment Morgan had eaten 30 days’ worth of McDonalds. He went to the doctors for his final tests. He went from 185-210 pounds in a month. His cholesterol level increased. He doubled his risk for heart failure and heart disease. The lawsuit against McDonalds by the two teenage girls was dropped due to failure to show how McDonalds contributed to their injuries.
The question to be answered in regard to this video is “How large a role do you think advertising plays in our food choices?” Advertising is a very big aspect of whether we buy things or not. With advertisement being on television, billboards, the internet ads, and social media. We can’t get away from seeing ads for everything. A big thing we see are the advertisements for food. Every big food chain flashes their new deals during the commercials of our favorite shows. We are usually seeing their new items and thinking “I can’t wait to try that” or “That sure does look good”. It never fails that the colorful, delicious looking ads draw our attention to potentially buy a new product of a particular franchise. If we see an advertisement for a nice juicy burger with melted cheese and bright green lettuce with a nicely toasted bun and crispy fries on the side, we are more likely to run out to get that burger with those fries than if we see just a plain commercial of yogurt. Advertising also makes us want to eat at that very moment. Advertising also plays a role for couples who have kids. Most parents can bribe any child with food, but it’s easier to bribe kids with food of their choice. If they saw a commercial of a new sugary, cavity producing cereal and you need them to behave there is more than likely a deal produced using that cereal.
Most commercials now are made to entice children attention so that they are able to convince their parents to buy it. In today’s society there are more commercials being aired with healthy choices and showing healthy choices in a greater light. Such as if I were to see a fruit bowl at Publix with the nice colored, fresh and juicy fruit, I might be more inclined to go buy that. Not only does advertising the product but advertising the price of the product plays a serious role. Most of these fast food chains advertise deals like most franchises are starting a “4 for 4” meal or 5-dollar meals including a side and drink. Which usually catches the eye of young adults on a budget or college students. If healthy choices advertised a price deal for products maybe it would appeal to people who are trying to save money but want to eat right. Not only do we want to try new things, but when we see food it makes us think that we are hungry.
In an article in 2009, an experiment was done to see if watching advertisements made people snack on food that was available to them. It was said that “advertising for food and beverages communicates potentially powerful food consumption cues, including images of attractive models eating, snacking at non-meal times, and positive emotions…”. Which seems to be a very recurring aspect in commercials to draw the attention to their products. They had a total of 118 kids participate. 56 girls, 62 boys. There was a group of students who watched a cartoon with food commercials in between and another group who had game and entertainment commercials in between the cartoon shown. Both groups were given goldfish while watching the cartoons. When they left the room, the experimenter weighed the bowl of goldfish to determine the amount eaten. The hypothesis was correct and children who saw the food advertisements ate more goldfish than the other group of kids. Advertising most definitely plays a tremendous role in our food choices whether healthy or not.
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