General chatter - "Supersize Me" - Fighting a losing battle?




almostheaven
01-02-2007, 08:07 PM
I've seen a previous thread on "Supersize Me" here, but hadn't seen the film yet. Just watched it a couple nights ago and had to comment on a suggestion made that parents, if they eat every meal with their children, only eat about 1,000 times a year with their child. While children are inundated with over 10,000 fast/junk food commercials a year, so parents are fighting a losing battle.

Really? Isn't it up to me to decide how much TV my child watches? Ergo, how many fast/junk food commercials he'll actually get to see? So how could I be fighting a losing battle?

I at first was getting into the film until it seems the blame started shifting to the fast food industry for enticing our kids into eating there, making it hard on the parents to combat it. It's not hard. I control how much TV he watches AND eat every meal with him. What's hard about it?

Thankfully, I got healthy before my son came along, so I go in armed with better choices to teach him. I used to do nothing but sit in front a TV daily. Yesterday, we turned on the TV after he was in bed and rented "The Da Vinci Code". And that's all the TV we saw. I've been home all day, and I've seen "The People's Court" while working out on my stair stepper. I doubt he's going to be ruined by a flood of commercials that I can't counterbalance by sitting down to a homecooked meal at the table 3 times today.


GreatBigMonsterMomma
01-03-2007, 12:56 AM
My husband had to see the film as part of nutrition class when he was in the Navy & he came back from it alternately laughing and mad. We're both strongly libertarian, and I am very mindful of the fact that there were two alternate documentaries made after this one came out wherein the subject did much the same--ate every meal at McDonald's for a month--and lost weight instead. So from that alone, I am left shaking my head at it.

We have a television, but haven't bothered to actually watch anything on it since we moved back home. And since I listen mainly to talk radio, I question how many fast food commercials my kids are really assaulted with. ;) (There are McDonald's & Whataburger commercials during the Spurs games I listen to on the radio, but they seem to bore the living daylights out of my girls.)

I think even in the 'worst case scenario', even with kids who watch a lot of television, as I myself did when I was a child, the parents' attitudes and actions have overwhelmingly more influence on a child than advertising. When I was a kid, 99% of the time when we went out to eat, we went to Bill Miller's (which is sort of like fast food barbeque; only in Texas)...and so as an adult that's where I want to go 99% of the time, and I don't think I've ever seen or heard a Bill Miller's commercial. And endless Taco Cabana commercials never prompted me to want to go there, because my mother loathed the place.

So...I think Morgan Spurlock is one of those people who wants the government to protect us from ourselves. I don't believe that legislating nutrition has got a snowflake's chance in heck of working. Americans are too fond of our easy food. Look at the "nanny state" uproar over NYC's banning of trans-fat. You'd think it was the first time a food product had ever been banned (cyclamates, anyone?).

midwife
01-03-2007, 09:12 AM
There is such diversity in the US. Are the parenting choices that you guys make typical of the average parents? Just by the fact you both are working on health makes you a self-selected population that considers nutrition, couch-potato-ism vs. exercise, etc.

Are you guys typical?

With my patient population, the answer would be nope!

Typical is lots of fast food, exposure to TV (and advertisements are specially designed to work), limited exercise.

I thought it was sad when Spurlock pointed out that fast food playgrounds are often the only playgrounds in some neighborhoods.

This problem has many facets, but there definitely is a problem. I wish more families were like ya'll's.

For the most part, people are unwilling to change their diets for health. Sad, but true.


alinnell
01-03-2007, 10:17 AM
My family has fast food on occasion. Probably my DD, in high school, eats a bit more than the rest of us. We have a FF lunch at least once every weekend. Dinners are rarely fast food unless I'm at a meeting and DH has to "cook" for the kids (I TRY to make something that can be reheated, but he's not too keen on that most of the time). Thankfully, I've always fixed a family dinner while the kids were little and they've come to expect it each night. They are both aware of nutrition and the need to eat their veggies--but that came from PE and health classes at school. They rarely listen to what ol' Mom has to say!!!

DD and I watched Supersize me a few months back (when she was trying to lose weight). It really struck a chord with her. I think she needs a refresher course, though!!!

When my kids were little, they got to play in the Micky D's playground while I ordered their food and then they got an additional 10 minutes after they ate. They actually got bored most of the time, so this wasn't the attraction for them. And they really don't like Micky D's any longer.

I have a friend who read Fast Food Nation (I've yet to read it) but she commented to me that if you were to read it, the ONLY fast food place you would eat at afterward is In-N-Out Burgers. They certainly are good burgers--but since I haven't read the book, I'm not sure what she is alluding to. Anyone?

IMO, having a diet rich in fast food is a sign of our laziness. It really isn't difficult to cook your own food and teach your children to eat the right foods. Sure there are a couple things my kids don't like--there are a few things I don't like. But they sure enjoy a nice lean chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli. Can't argue with that!!!

junebug41
01-03-2007, 10:29 AM
Alinell- she's referring to the fact that In-N-Out uses more than grade F meat (as most chains use) that comes from their own meat packing plant. They are in charge of everything from the raising of the cattle to the handling and the boning. Nothing is frozen, everything is fresh.

nelie
01-03-2007, 10:31 AM
I never eat fast food but I've been like that for most of my life. When I was younger, I'd have fast food occassionally only because it was what my friends wanted. DH doesn't like fast food, I don't like fast food so we don't eat it. I would occassionally eat fries if we went out to Red Robin or something but last time I ate fries, I must've passed a gall stone because it was extremely painful. I went to the doctor, had an ultra sound, they found gall stones and the doc said no more fried foods period. So even though fried foods were a rarity before, now I don't eat any at all. Obviously eating fast food wasn't how I gained weight but just generally overindulging and I believe hormonal issues which made me majorly hungry when I was young. Add in emotional issues and you got a 300 lb teenager who got fat off of regular food.

As for tv, my life has changed in the past year regarding TV. I used to watch a fair amount of tv but started watching less and less. Then DH and I cancelled our cable description and watch only Netflix TV shows or movies. Since then, I watch no commercials.

fiddler
01-03-2007, 10:42 AM
I just watched it this past weekend.

While I agree that fast food is unhealthy, I strongly disagree with legislating against it. People need to be encouraged to take more personal responsibility in their lives, not less. The more the government legislates issues that should be a matter of personal responsibility, the lazier people get about informing themselves and making smart choices.

The part that was shocking to me was what is served in our schools that passes for "food." There is simply no excuse for serving french fries, chicken nuggets, and pizza instead of healthy choices. It's no wonder our children think that a diet of fast food is acceptable.

Mami
01-03-2007, 11:05 AM
I agree that the government cannot legislate how we eat, but the government CAN require food manufacturers and restaurants to TELL US how many calories and fat grams are on the food we're eating. New York City just passed a law requiring all chain restaurants that already post their calories online to now put them directly on the menu. That is EVEN MORE libertarian in my view because we are now armed with the information we need to ACCURATELY make our own choices about what we eat. We deserve to know what (how many calories) is in the food we buy! I BET a lot of people would refrain from ordering that Big Mac and fries when they see right in front of them on the menu that the BM has 560 calories and the large fries has 570. calories.

alinnell
01-03-2007, 11:34 AM
Alinell- she's referring to the fact that In-N-Out uses more than grade F meat (as most chains use) that comes from their own meat packing plant. They are in charge of everything from the raising of the cattle to the handling and the boning. Nothing is frozen, everything is fresh.

Thanks junebug!! Now I know.

GreatBigMonsterMomma
01-03-2007, 11:41 AM
I am not always great with TV; when we were in Hawaii we had it on more often than not. Of course, even then my main channels were FoxNews, FoodNetwork, and PBS. So the only crap food commercials my kids were exposed to were, ironically, on the "noncommercial" PBS, which frequently advertised both McDonald's and Chuck E Cheese.

From a Libertarian standpoint, the issue for me is one of personal responsibility. I am solely responsible for what I and my children eat. And that means that either I try to avoid fast food altogether or I look up the nutrition info on the chain's website. All the big chains--TacoBell, McDonald's, Wendy's, and Burger King--have the nutrition info readily available on their websites. McDonald's, at least, has the info in print form available in their stores and has for as long as I can remember.

I know all too well the sad state of "nutrition" in government schools...It is only one more reason I refuse to send my children there and am a firm supporter of school choice (up to & including vouchers). Well do I remember the every-Wednesday offerings of cheese enchiladas or deep-fried burritos with rice and beans, the only green in sight perhaps the tray on which the food was placed. That is where the government belongs, in its schools. There needs to be realistic nutrition education (how about in Health class?) and actual good food coming from the cafeteria, instead of the over-carbed and -sugared stuff that now passes for healthy choices.

In fact, I'd like to see the government worry less about McDonald's and a little more about itself. It is no great secret that the FoodPyramid is at least as much about agriculture subsidies and food lobbying groups as anything else. And then there's WIC, the "nutrition" program that happily gives out formula (and sorry, but that is a nutrition issue), encourages excess consumption of carbohydrates (usually poor-quality ones), and myriad other things. Most pediatricians advocate no more than one or two servings a day of juice, but you're given a heck of a lot more than that on WIC. There is some small evidence linking early consumption of grain cereals (rice, wheat, etc) to diabetes later in life, but WIC loads you up on that starting from about four months from what I've seen in my family, never mind that the AAP recommends solids of any sort not be introduced during the first six months of life.

But I guess McDonald's is an easier target.

almostheaven
01-04-2007, 12:02 AM
There is such diversity in the US. Are the parenting choices that you guys make typical of the average parents? Just by the fact you both are working on health makes you a self-selected population that considers nutrition, couch-potato-ism vs. exercise, etc.

Are you guys typical?

With my patient population, the answer would be nope!

Typical is lots of fast food, exposure to TV (and advertisements are specially designed to work), limited exercise.

I thought it was sad when Spurlock pointed out that fast food playgrounds are often the only playgrounds in some neighborhoods.

This problem has many facets, but there definitely is a problem. I wish more families were like ya'll's.

For the most part, people are unwilling to change their diets for health. Sad, but true.
But that "people" are unwilling to change shouldn't mean they get to sue McDs for it. No, it's not typical, and I wasn't always like this. I still struggle with it myself. But I didn't go to McDs before thinking it was healthy food. I KNEW it wasn't. But I LIKED it. So I kept going, kept hating being overweight, but never had the willpower to do anything about it. Actually, I never liked McDs, just an example. I was partial to Burger King. Now, if I do fast food, it's Wendy's, where I can get a plain baked potato or a chili or salad or fruit bowl. But STILL crave a spicy chicken sandwich and fries. :D But if I break down and buy the chicken and fries, I sure ain't gonna sue Wendy's for enticing me into it with their pictures of the mouthwatering fare, or their advertisements about how good it is, or to do what "feels" right. What "feels" right is eating the delicious chicken and fries. What I KNOW is right is eating the potato and salad and feeling and looking better later. Even though the food wasn't as tasty "now". LOL

They may target our kids with their commercials and playgrounds, but WE have the right to tell our kids no. It's just sometimes easier not to, and sometimes even WE give in to temptation as well as the kids. But nobody twists our arms. And whether those calories are next to the item on the menu or not won't matter either. We KNOW it's not healthy fare. Anyone who thinks a cheeseburger is better for them than grilled chicken is only fooling themselves. Even those who've never been directly told. It's just common sense. But we're too much a society of blame. :(

The part that was shocking to me was what is served in our schools that passes for "food." There is simply no excuse for serving french fries, chicken nuggets, and pizza instead of healthy choices. It's no wonder our children think that a diet of fast food is acceptable.
I was amazed by that as well. The one school for troubled kids they showed out in, I think, WI? Told how they went with another company for their menu, one that believed in using fresh, natural ingredients, and lots of fruits and veggies. And they also removed the snack/soda machines. And you can't tell it's a school for problem kids now. The kids are calm and well behaved!

almostheaven
01-04-2007, 12:06 AM
I know all too well the sad state of "nutrition" in government schools...It is only one more reason I refuse to send my children there and am a firm supporter of school choice (up to & including vouchers). Well do I remember the every-Wednesday offerings of cheese enchiladas or deep-fried burritos with rice and beans, the only green in sight perhaps the tray on which the food was placed. That is where the government belongs, in its schools. There needs to be realistic nutrition education (how about in Health class?) and actual good food coming from the cafeteria, instead of the over-carbed and -sugared stuff that now passes for healthy choices.
Unbelievably, I used to eat better when I was a teen than I did after I became an adult. Also unbelievably, my high school (1980 to 1983) served chef salads in lieu of the traditional lunch. I ate those salads more often than not. We had snack/soda machines too, but I didn't frequent them. It was my choice then too. Younger kids, if they're taught appropriately, will more often make wiser choices, but it does help to get that junk out from in front of them. That part of the show about the school that changed their lunch program...they said it cost about the same as the traditional lunches they'd been using all those years.

WaterBottleBeauty
01-04-2007, 05:11 AM
I think anybody who wants to sue somebody over advertising or strictly legislate over advertising has lost sight of what advertising actually is. The whole idea of it is to make the product more inticing or, failing that, at least inform people that the product exists. It doesn't make you go out and buy it. Sure, it might make the whole going out and buying it a bit more tempting but it still doesn't make you do it.

As for 'Supersize Me' (which I've read about but actually haven't seen) and the studies that followed it- I think that Supersize Me was an entertaining study for what it was. What it was was to see the effects of gorging on McDonalds. Fair play, perhaps not the most scientifically useful of studies!! When you think about it, he went from a healthy adult male who gorged himself. I bet that people who do regularly eat that amount of fast food didn't just suddenly wake up and decide to start gorging themselves on it suddenly. Their bodies had had time to get used to the effect, hence Spurlock's poor health was probably due to the general shock to the system rather the act of eating McDonald's itself. He also ate beyond his point of hunger- which most people would stop at. Many of the following studies do not really invalidate Supersize Me. The more say that you can eat McDonald's like a "regular" person and lose weight.

4myloves
01-04-2007, 10:05 AM
I watch it because I like the music. :)

midwife
01-04-2007, 10:11 AM
I'm not sure the average person is sueing McD's. Trust me, no one has more opposition to lame, knee-jerk, idiotic lawsuits than I do. I'm just saying that the average person doesn't know and doesn't care to know.

There needs to be a balance between a person's right to freely destroy his or her health and the price tag that each one of us will be stuck with for the medical care required by this destruction.

I know I don't have all the answers.

GBMM~I could not agree with you more re: WIC.

ennay
01-04-2007, 08:47 PM
I agree it is stupid to sue McD's I HATE HATE HATE the comparison to smoking lawsuits. Puuuuuuhleeze. You CAN eat at McD's occasionally and not ruin your health. There is no single food at McD's that has ZERO positive and 100% negative like cigarettes.

...but I digress

ditto Momma on the govt not regulating itself. In CA "ketchup" constitutes a serving of vegetables in the headstart lunch program. WIC is awful. How about providing lactation support and REAL food for the moms, but instead they push formula. My highschool sold ice cream sundaes for $0.25. It was freaking subsidized. It was cheaper to get an icecream and a chocolate milk (my lunch every single day) than a real lunch.

I'm not defending McD's, but I think parents and individuals have to take control. I DO object to soda in the schools, and fast food on highschool campuses.

Oh and as for the other studies "defending" McD's I read one of the guys website pretty carefully. He either falsified some data or was WOEFULLY unhealthy to start with. His "improved" cholesterol were reported in ways to obscure the actual numbers. If you do the math he had to have the highest cholesterol in the planet to start with. And the man spent something like 5 hours in the gym every day lifting weights. I could eat 5000 cals a day and lose weight if I lived in a gym. (Besides - he got NO intestinal distress from a 100% McD's diet, that means he was already eating that stuff pretty often...any radical change in diet will affect you). And he reported that his blood pressure "improved" when it went from a "too low" 110/70 (?) to a "perfect" 120/40.

ennay
01-04-2007, 08:55 PM
But I guess McDonald's is an easier target.

Amen- if you make money in this country you are automatically an evil corporation...regardless if people are begging for you to keep doing it

Next thing you know there will be lawsuits against 24hr fitness for charging for membership and denying the poor access to exercise.

almostheaven
01-04-2007, 11:06 PM
When you think about it, he went from a healthy adult male who gorged himself.
Amen! I didn't see the point in THAT little display. He figured if he was going to eat McDs he may as well do it the same way a 300 pound man would. So he starts out ordering the supersize and FORCING himself to eat every bite????? What did that prove? That he could throw up as easily as anyone else? What a maroon!

Amen- if you make money in this country you are automatically an evil corporation...regardless if people are begging for you to keep doing it
We're having this same discussion on another forum I'm on with regards to Wal*Mart.

lizziness
01-04-2007, 11:42 PM
I think that being required to let people know what the fat and calories are they are consuming, and having them available in the restaurant is necessary. I bought a calorie king book and any time we don't feel like cooking or really crave something bad for us - we look it up and make an informed and wiser choice than the one our stomachs would make for us,
There have been several places I asked if they had something available and the answer is almost always no.
Suing a restaurant for your getting fat is ridiculous. Suing them for not disclosing information however... is more of a gray area for me.
I felt the same after watching Supersize me as I did watching Walmart: the high cost of a low price. Less inclined to go there... but still sometimes I'm in a hurry or broke and I have to go there anyway.
In the end people have to make their own choices good or bad.

almostheaven
01-05-2007, 09:44 AM
There have been several places I asked if they had something available and the answer is almost always no.
Suing a restaurant for your getting fat is ridiculous. Suing them for not disclosing information however... is more of a gray area for me.

With the internet today, one can nearly always find the nutritional info for just about anyplace...whether that place carries it or not. But I'd think if people were deadset against eating food without knowing the info, that it would be easier to simply pick a different place to eat than to sue them. If enough people went elsewhere to eat, they'd go out of business. But that's just it...most people don't care. Well...UNTIL they start feeling depressed about their weight, their health, whatever. Then, they don't want to blame themselves, they're already depressed enough. So they start blaming the place they kept frequenting because they weren't ready to do anything about it before and just go somewhere else.

Personally, I know that a salad is infinately better than a burger. I also know that a lettuce salad is lower cal than one with cheese, bacon, etc. etc. So whether I know the exact cals in a food, I make my choices based on where I can get certain foods that I know to be lower cal. If I don't have many cals left in a day and going to eat, I'll get a side salad at Wendy's and top it with a small chili. If I have plenty of cals left, I can get a baked potato with broccoli and a chili. But I never ever ever have enough cals left for McDs or Burger King. Alas, I live vicariously through my husband the junk food junkie. When he has something good, I take a bite. :D

lizziness
01-05-2007, 02:35 PM
Oh I definitely think each person is responsible for making their own choices, which is why I did go out and get a book so I can make an informed decision. I know a lot of people who think they are doing good to go get a big salad from Carl's Jr every day... only to put that packet of dressing on it and it becomes just as much fat as a burger. I don't know if they realize it, but if they could look it up... maybe they'd buy their own dressing or make their own salads for pennies instead. People like convenience more than anything else.
Not all places have a website that you can go to, granted a lot of them do, not ALL of them do. Plus then you get the argument that people who do not have the internet or cannot afford it should be penalized, etc. I'm not saying it's RIGHT, I'm just saying.. making them disclose that information makes a lot more sense to me than suing them because their foods caused people to get fat. It would no longer be their fault, if that information was handy right there in the restaurant.

simone1ca
01-05-2007, 04:16 PM
This is probably one of my all time fave movies. I LOVED it when it first came out and I watch it every time it's on TV. It's a reminder of what I can so easily do to myself.

As for the losing battle....my nieces, aged 8 & 10 live with me, as do their parents, but I do the grocery shopping. I decide what we eat during the week. We have only 1 "take out" day and it's Saturday and I let the kids decide what they want, and it's usually McDonalds. I don't mind that because I know during the week they're eating healthy, nutritious food. I do that because I don't want them to end up where I am today. I don't want them falling into that fast food/junk food trap.

But it goes beyond just what they eat. They're encouraged to exercise too. Before the leg issues I have now, we used to exercise together daily and they're bugging and bugging about doing it again, so I ordered a DVD to accommodate my current condition and we'll be back exercising again.

The sad truth is, not a lot of parents/caregivers have the luxury I do. I have the time to spend with them. Their parents are with me too as is my dad, so it's almost like they have 4 parents to fall back on.

It's not a losing battle, but it's a tough one to fight.

pacman12
01-06-2007, 06:39 AM
I haven't eaten McDonalds since watching it. Regardless of the social arguments, I just don't want to put crap in my body that can cause as much damage in one month as it did to that guy. I don't understand the US attitude of not wanting the "government" to control things - to me, that's what they are for, and if it results in a healthier society, what was lost?

almostheaven
01-06-2007, 06:17 PM
What is lost is capitalism...the right and ability of someone to make a buck, to build a big business. People want their product. That's how they have grown as large as they have. People like it, and keep buying it. I don't think government can regulate a healthy society. They have drugs as illegal...yet people still do them. Next they'll make alcohol illegal. Moonshine was once, and still people illegally made it. People are going to do what they like to do, regardless of how much government tries to control them.