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Obesity has currently been noted as an increasing health problem. In the last thirty years, the percentage of obese people in the United States of America has tripled. Statistics shows that in 1980, the percentage of obese children and adolescents aged between 2 to 19 years was 7.0%. By 2008, the percentage had increased to about 20%.
There is no single cause that can be attributed to the problem. Additionally, World Health Organization reports that, women from various cultures have higher risks of being obese as compared to men. It states that “girls are more than 50 percent more likely to be obese than were boys” (World Health Organization, 65).
However, the percentage is higher in black people as compared to white people. However the probable causes are; change in dietary patterns, availability and increased access to fast food and soft drinks, reduce physical activity among others. Efforts have been put by individuals and organizations to help those affected to regain normal weight and fight against diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, osteoarthritis among others.
According to the World Health Organization report of 2000, Americans population as well as people in other parts of the world have lost their lives due to diseases linked to obesity. As it has been noted previously, there is no single factor that leads to obesity.
Following this, there has been two divide with regards to the issue; one side strongly believe that it is the presence of fast food restaurants that has contributed to the problem, on the other hand, there are those opposing this school of thought thereby generating an endless debate on the causes of obesity and the approaches to be taken to curb it. It has been argued that obesity is a serious problem cutting across individuals of all ages.
This topic is of a paramount significance since it will help the general public to understand what causes of obesity are and work out the strategies to curb the problem.
As it has been noted previously there is a controversy regarding what are the main causes of obesity. To that effect, two documentaries will be used to examine these two opposing sides. The first documentary is titled Super Size Me directed by Spurlock Morgan, produced by Jones Kelvin.
It was produced back in 2004 and features Morgan closely following a strict diet of fast-food from the McDonald for a period of one month. He ate three times a day with food totaling 20.92 mega joules. At the end of the period, Morgan gained 11.1kg, and increase of 13.0% in body mass 230 cholesterol. Other consequences he experienced include sexual dysfunction, accumulation of fat in liver and changes in moods.
The second documentary which holds a contrary view is titled Fat Head , it was produced by Ostrow page and Smiley Susan directed by Tom Naughton. The documentary refutes the views presented in the Super Size Me as well as the lipid hypothesis. The later has been a fundamental in nutrition science of the United States and a larger section of the European world.
The documentary emphasizes on how Super Size Me had utilized reasoning which was not credible by using transparency. Additionally the science as well as politics behind the U.S government recommendation about nutrition is also covered. The documentary states clearly that the lipid hypothesis does not have a strong scientific prove behind it. Naughton throughout the documentary eats fast-food from McDonald, he ultimately losses 12 pounds and his cholesterol levels dropped.
Analysis of the first documentary
In the film Super Size Me, there is no doubt that Spurlock was troubled by the fact that obesity cases in the US society have been steadily increasing. It was against this background that his documentary rested on. The director contents that he was worried with the trend and in no time American will pose themselves to greater risks as a results of consuming fast-food.
To convince the audience, the director took the initiative to be the guinea pig where he engaged in eating fast-food 3 times a day in MacDonald, before this, he was tested by three different doctors who reported that his health was perfect.
From the experiment, Spurlock gained a whooping 11.1kg an increase of body mass index by 13.0%, as well as cholesterol levels as high as 230 merely after a month of consuming fast-food. Additionally, throughout the experiment viewers are made to understand that he also experienced changes in moods, accumulation of fat in his liver as well as sexual dysfunction (Super Size Me, 2004).
Similarly, it took Spurlock a total of 14 months to loss the weight he gained within a month, 5 months to loss 9.0kg and 9 months to loss 2kgs. Concerning seeking the views of experts to support his arguments, the three doctors who examined him before the experiments tested him and were surprised on how his health deteriorated within a short time.
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Interestingly through his general practitioner, viewers are made to understand that Spurlock experienced depression; he asserts that the depression, headaches as well as lethargy would be released by consuming meals from the McDonalds thereby showing that fast-food can be addictive.
Analysis of the second documentary
In the film Fat Head, it is evident that the director was motivated to produce it in order to counter the assertions held by the first documentary about fast-food. For over fifteen years, the Americans have been made to believe that obesity is a result of taking excess food full of fat, and eating less of fatty foods makes human loss weight and have a longer life span. The aim of the directors was to help readers understand that obesity was not a result of consuming fast-food.
In the first part of the documentary, the director and his producers have tried to show how the first documentary misinterpreted information or used reasoning that was not credible to assert that fast-food consumption is the cause of obesity. For instance, they claim that Spurlock indulged in consumption of very large quantities of fast-food and did not take part in any physical activities.
Additionally, the director has brought forth valid arguments with the aim of supporting his views, for instance, he managed to make viewers understand that there was no single scientific study that had linked consumption of fast-food and any heart related disease. The director also managed to ensure that his claims are backed by detailed research studies.
In the film Fat Head, the audience is taken through the concepts behind obesity by well known experts. For instance, refined carbohydrates from the food we deem staple for instance rice, pasta among others, as well as sugar from soft drinks are to blame for obesity.
Experts explain that food full of carbohydrates impact on how insulin hormone operates; this in turn affects blood sugar and fat metabolism, as well as appetite. This hypothesis comes with questions; thus consumption of carbohydrates with low fat content makes human more hungry needing more food hence growing heavier. The audience is also convinced when the director sacrificed himself and took fast-food diet from McDonald 2000 calories per day while not restricting fat.
It was interesting that after 30 days of consuming fast-food, he eventually lost 12 pounds. Similarly the cholesterol level decreased, as well as there were some improvements in some of his lipid profile. From the experiment it is evident for the audience to believe that the lipid hypothesis is wrong and might be responsible for aggravating the problem it was intended to solve.
From the review of the two documentary, there is no doubt that the two directors although holding parallel views, are concerned with the health of Americans as well as that of the entire world’s population. Both try to ensure that the general public is aware of the concept of obesity and its causes.
However, it is apparent that Spurlock strongly believes that consumption of fast-food which is being heavily and aggressively market is to blame for the rise of cases of obesity in American populations. To that effect people should avoid them at all cost. On the other hand, Naughton refutes this claim and tries to show and convince the audience that obesity is not a result of consumption of fast-food. To him, fast food is indeed healthy if the general public learns to do things right such as exercising among others.
Indeed, it is difficult for one to quickly come to a conclusion concerning causes of obesity. Similarly, there will be continuous debates on the same issues till scientific studies are done to ascertain the claims that consumption of fast-food is indeed responsible for obesity and related health complications.
Fat Head. Dir. Tom Naughton. Prod. Page Ostrow & Smiley Susan. Morning star Entertainment, 2009. DVD
Super Size Me. Dir. Spurlock Morgan. Prod. Jones Kelvin. Samuel Goldwyn Films & Roadside Attractions, 2004. DVD
World Health Organization, “Obesity: Preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a WHO consultation”. Technical Report Series. 894.20 (2000): 1-25. Print.