Good Essay On CLP 4314 Psychology Of Health & Illness Dr. Leslie Frazier
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SUPER SIZE ME DOCUMENTORY
Summarize the documentary “Super Size Me”. Give a detailed description of the coverage of the documentary, and state briefly the “take-away” message it gives. Do not cut & paste from reviews of the movie from any source. This must be in your own words.
The movie is a research of the connection between the obesity problem in the United States and fast food restaurants. The author of the movie, Morgan Spurlock takes on a 30-day binge of the largest fast food chain in the world – McDonald’s. His aim is to test on himself the impact of McDonald’s food on his heaths. At the beginning of the experiment Morgan goes through a thorough medical examination and receives a clean bill of health. Any negative changes would be caused by his McDonald’s diet. He also tries to imitate the lifestyle of an average American during the challenge and limits his walking to 5 000 steps a day.
Answer these questions specifically, state the data given in the documentary which aired in 2004 and compare that to the most current (i.e., 2012-2013) data from online sources such as WHO, CDC, Obesity.org, Harvard Medical Library, your textbook.
What is the percentage of adults that are obese in America today?
According to 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 34.9% of adults were obese (2014, JAMA The Journal of American Medical Association. Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. Retrieved from http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1832542).
Since 1980, how has that number changed?
The number has more than doubled (2.33). In 1980 15% of adults in the USA were obese (2014, Trust for America’s Health. TFAH Issues. Obesity. Retrieved from http://healthyamericans.org/obesity).
What is the fattest state in America?
The fattest state in America in 2004, when the movie was aired, was Mississippi. In 2013 the West Virginia shared that dubious status with Mississippi (2014, Trust for America’s Health. The State of Obesity. Adult Obesity Rates by State, 2013 Retrieved from http://stateofobesity.org/adult-obesity/).
Why is obesity is mentioned as the number 1 cause of preventable death in America? What is another cause of preventable death mentioned in the video? What other health conditions does being obese lead to?
Obesity is not named as number 1 cause of death in the movie. It is named as number 2 cause, with smoking being the cause number 1. Obesity leads to numerous heath problems: hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, dyslipidemia, steatohepatitis, insulin resistance, asthma, hyperuricemia, reproductive hormone abnormalities, polycystic ovarian syndrome, impaired fertility and adult onset diabetes.
How many joints does McDonalds operate?
According to the movie McDonald’s operate more than 30 000 restaurants in 100 countries.
How many McDonalds are in Manhattan, where Morgan lives?
According to the movie there are 83 joints, or 4 per each sq. mile.
Has there been a change in the number of McDonalds in the U.S. today since the movie was made?
The number of McDonald’s restaurants in the USA has grown to 14 627 joints in 2013 (2014, Statista. Number of McDonald’s Restaurants in North America in 2012 and 2013, by country Retrieved from http://www.statista.com/statistics/256040/mcdonalds-restaurants-in-north-america/).
In the documentary, Morgan embarks on a 30 day McDonalds binge, he enlists the help of how many and which doctors?
Morgan gets examined by three doctors: a general practitioner, a cardiologist and a gastroenterologist.
What kinds of questions do they ask him?
Since they are trying to assess the state of his health prior to the experiment, they ask him a lot of questions. In particular, they ask him:
If he is feeling well?
If he feels any fatigue?
If he experiencing any weight gain or loss?
If there are any changes in his vision?
If Morgan has a fever, cough, shortness of breath, ear ringing, nasal vomiting or heartburn?
If he has been hospitalized for any illness?
If he is taking any medications?
If he has any food allergies?
If he has problems with his blood pressure?
If there is a history of heart disease, diabetes or cancer in his family?
If he smokes, abuses alcohol or drugs?
If he is sexually active and has a girlfriend?
What is Morgan’s health status at the beginning of the documentary?
Morgan is perfectly healthy at the beginning of the film. None of three doctors detect any issues. His body mass index is normal, meaning that he is not obese. His body fat is above average at 11% and his fitness level is above average according to tests taken with a fitness instructor.
c. How do the doctors think Morgan’s body will respond to the 30 day “challenge”?
The doctors, at the beginning of the movie, did not expect a lot of damage. All of them expected that Morgan’s triglycerides were going to increase, as well as his cholesterol level. General practitioner also predicted some weight gain. Otherwise, the doctors expected Morgan’s body to adapt and absorb the impact of unhealthy diet.
IV. Morgan also gets assistance from what other professionals? Why?
Morgan gets help from a registered dietician to help him monitor his progress and evaluate the impact of the experiment. He also uses exercise physiologist to do some tests and assess his fitness level.
What is Morgan’s girlfriend profession? In your own opinion, how do you think this may affect his 30-day challenge?
Morgan’s girlfriend is a vegan chef. I believe that this fact is an extra challenge for Morgan because she understands more than an average person all the dangers of eating fast food. Later in the movie they have a conversation about eating habits and she encourages Morgan to stop eating meat while he opposes that. Morgan’s girlfriend puts extra pressure on him and makes it harder to complete the 30 day experiment. It’s not direct pressure, but it’s there anyway. It would have been different if she would be a McDonald’s fan, or rather an addict, too.
On day 1, Morgan asks people if they eat fast food. One lady compares the U.S. fast food restaurants to France fast food restaurants. Explain how McDonalds differs in Europe and the U.S. What does this comparison tell you?
The lady from France told Morgan that fast food restaurants in Europe are cleaner and more attractive. But the most important fact is that servings in Europe are smaller than in the U.S. What is a small coke in America is a big coke in Europe and there is no Super Size available in European joints. This fact speaks for itself. People in the U.S. eat more fast food and the restaurants are encouraging the clients to do so by offering bigger servings.
What is Morgan’s demeanor at the beginning of the documentary? How does this change or not over the course of the 30 day challenge?
I think that at the beginning of the film Morgan feels like it’s going to be a joyride. He sees it as some kind of childhood dream come true. He acts like he’s got an excuse to eat at McDonald’s every day rather than he is forced to do it. Morgan, as a normal healthy person, overestimates the ability of his body to absorb the impact of eating junk and doesn’t take the threat seriously. Then, when the reality kicks in, he starts feeling more and more depressed. He still admits that the food tastes good, which makes the challenge even more difficult. But he gets alarmed and depressed about the deteriorating of his health.
During the documentary, Jacob Sullum, the senior editor of Reason Magazine, talked about the differences in social acceptance between smoking and being fat. Discuss in detail what he talks about. What are his points on both health issues? What is your own opinion?
Jacob Sullum discusses the difference in social acceptance of smoking and obesity. While smoking is viewed a 100% bad habit, eating unhealthy foods and getting obese is not. Despite the fact that smoking and obesity are two main causes of preventable death in the U.S., they are treated absolutely in an opposite manner. While smokers are being banned from public places and advertizing is legally restricted for tobacco companies; fast food chains enjoy an unrestricted, if not favorable, conditions of doing business. They target small kids in their promotional tactic, there is no age restriction on selling fast food, and in general, being obese is not considered bad and it is not criticized. The fact that healthy way of life promotion is non-existent compared to the fast food advertising campaigns is reflected very well in the documentary. There is not much left to add.
Based on the documentary and your own research using sources listed above, what health problems are linked to obesity?
According to the American Medical Association (2014, American Medical Association. Obesity: Related Conditions. Retrieved from http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/public-health/promoting-healthy-lifestyles/obesity.page) and the movie the following are the problems: hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, gall bladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, dyslipidemia, steatohepatitis, insulin resistance, asthma, hyperuricemia, reproductive hormone abnormalities, polycystic ovarian syndrome, impaired fertility and adult onset diabetes.
Based on the documentary, how are mcnuggets made?
Mcnuggets are made of chicken breasts. Originally, they were made of chicken breasts of old chicken that were no longer capable of laying eggs. Chicken breasts are stripped from the bones, mashed and combined with stabilizers and preservatives. After that they are pressed into the final shape, breaded, deep-fried and freeze-dried.
According to the documentary, does McDonalds provide the nutritional data of the foods they serve? Has this changed since the documentary? Are there any locations in the U.S. where nutritional data is required by law to be available to consumers? In your opinion, is nutritional data important? Does it influence your food decisions? Do you think it influences other people’s food choices?
In the documentary nutritional data is not provided. In various McDonald’s joints that Morgan attended and asked for it this information was either absent or not available to the clients, being located in the kitchen, in the back office, etc. Since the documentary was made, McDonald’s started to pay more attention to nutritional data availability. At some point it was available as an in-tray leaflet with every order. However, I feel that it’s being done to shift the blame from the restaurant that is serving unhealthy food to the customer because it creates an illusion of a conscientious decision. According to USFDA (2014, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Overview of FDA Labeling Requirements for Restaurants, Similar Retail Food Establishments and Vending Machines Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm248732.htm#menu), any restaurant that has 20 more locations is obliged by law to provide nutrition information on the menu.
I believe that nutritional data is important, but just listing the calories number next to the item on the menu is not enough. It should be combined with the information on the optimal number of calories that should be consumed on a daily basis as well as what foods it should come from. In other words, a customer should come to a restaurant knowing how many calories can be consumed and what kind of food is good for him. In this case it will help to make a right choice.
Schools and Nutrition
Give the epidemiological data on obesity in children in the U.S. today.
Nearly 16.9% of children were obese in 2011-2012 (2014, The State of Obesity. Adult Obesity Rates and Trends Overview. Retrieved from http://stateofobesity.org/obesity-rates-trends-overview/).
In your own opinion, do you think children in middle school are able to make the “right choices” with regard to foods? In other words, do you think children can discipline themselves to make healthy food choices and eat correct portions, while at school when they are served things like fries, mashed potatoes, soda, cookies, etc
I think that children have no chance in the undeclared war against fast food companies. The companies spend billions on developing marketing campaigns that target children. Besides aggressive marketing, the simple fact that junk food or soda drinks taste good makes it even more difficult for the children. In addition to that, fast food is cheap which makes more attractive since kids can buy it with their pocket money.
When you were that middle school aged, were you able to make the right nutritional choices?
I was no exception to the general trend. I had very little knowledge of the right food choices and I had even less desire to learn about it. I just wanted to eat what looked nice and tasted good.
What was your diet like at that age?
My diet included a lot of soda drinks, like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and the like, lots of fries, a lot of candy, chips and pizza. Pizza was my favorite childhood food.
Did your diet differ if you were eating at home or at school?
At home food was much healthier with lots of salads, cooked vegetables and grilled meat. However, sodas were part of my home diet too.
What was the biggest influence on the food choices you made?
The biggest influence was what other kids were eating. In other words, I was following the popular trend.
Near the end of the documentary, Neal Barnard discusses a drug that has a similar effect to those experienced by a heroine addict and a chocolate addict. Name the drug and describe the reaction in the two addictions when that drug is taken.
The name of the drug is Naloxone. It is usually given to heroin drug addicts in the case of an overdose. Naloxone stops the overdose syndromes. If given to the chocolate addict, it stops the craving to eat more chocolate. It proves the fact that the addiction is in our brain and not to the taste in the mouth.
Do you think it would be different if a woman were to do the 30-day challenge? Why or why not? What other issues may come to play?
I think the same challenge will be more difficult to a woman. Women are more conscientious about their appearance. Gaining weight and looking sick will make a woman more depressed. I am not sure that a woman, knowing what fast food does to her health and her looks would endure the entire 30 days.
Using your own research, discuss and describe in detail a healthy eating program that has been developed. (For example, Jamie Oliver’s Healthy Eating Program). How did you decide that this was a healthy eating program?
I like the slow-carbs diet developed by Tim Ferris (Ferris T. (2010) The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss). He suggests avoiding processed foods as much as possible. His diet also excludes “white” foods, such as rice, pastas and other foods made from flour. It is reach in vegetables, mostly fresh, beans and whole meat. The most interesting feature of his diet is a “binge” day. Once a week you can eat all you want. He claims that one day of eating lots of calories will not result in any weight gain. I should also mention that exercise is a natural part of the system developed by Tim Ferris.
Do you think you could do what Morgan did? How much fast food do you eat currently? After watching this documentary, do you think this number will change? Why or why not?
I don’t think I could do the same. I can see why Morgan did this. He is a journalist. He wants to let people know about the dangers of McDonald’s food and fast food in general. I am not a journalist. Eating fast food for 30 days and damaging my health would have no purpose. I ate fast food once a week. However, after the documentary I doubt I will eat at McDonald’s any time soon. It’s simply bad for my health and the documentary made it very hard to ignore that fact.
2014, JAMA The Journal of American Medical Association. Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. Retrieved from http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1832542
2014, Trust for America’s Health. TFAH Issues. Obesity. Retrieved from http://healthyamericans.org/obesity
2014, Trust for America’s Health. The State of Obesity. Adult Obesity Rates by State, 2013 Retrieved from http://stateofobesity.org/adult-obesity/
2014, Statista. Number of McDonald’s Restaurants in North America in 2012 and 2013, by country Retrieved from http://www.statista.com/statistics/256040/mcdonalds-restaurants-in-north-america/
2014, American Medical Association. Obesity: Related Conditions. Retrieved from http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/public-health/promoting-healthy-lifestyles/obesity.page
2014, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Overview of FDA Labeling Requirements for Restaurants, Similar Retail Food Establishments and Vending Machines Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm248732.htm#menu
2014, The State of Obesity. Adult Obesity Rates and Trends Overview. Retrieved from http://stateofobesity.org/obesity-rates-trends-overview/
Ferris T. (2010) The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss
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