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"Supersize Me" - Fighting a losing battle?

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Old 01-02-2007, 08:07 PM   #1
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Default "Supersize Me" - Fighting a losing battle?

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.
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Old 01-03-2007, 12:56 AM   #2
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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?).
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Old 01-03-2007, 09:12 AM   #3
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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.
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:17 AM   #4
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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!!!
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:29 AM   #5
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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.
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:31 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:42 AM   #7
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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.
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:05 AM   #8
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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.
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junebug41 View Post
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.
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:41 AM   #10
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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.
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:02 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midwife View Post
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. 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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddler View Post
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!
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Old 01-04-2007, 12:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
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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.
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Old 01-04-2007, 05:11 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 01-04-2007, 10:05 AM   #14
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Old 01-04-2007, 10:11 AM   #15
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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.
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