www.whyville.net Oct 25, 2004 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

Say NO! to Junk Food

Users' Rating
Rate this article

Yesterday I went to McDonald's and, as usual, my mom started giving me the "junk food is unhealthy" speech before I even unwrapped my burger. I couldn't help but think, "Oh please, not again...." but as she went on, I began to see her point.

That night, feeling very anti-junk food, I rented the movie "Super Size Me." It's a documentary, and it was very... interesting.

"Super Size Me" was created by Morgan Spurlock, quite a witty movie-maker. He set out on his "journey" with a few ground rules. He decided he had to eat McDonald's three times a day for 30 days. By the end of those 30 days, he had to have tried everything on the menu, and every time a McDonald's employee asked him if he wanted to "Super-size it?" (which they are actually trained to do), he had to say yes.

Over the month he was traveling the country, eating McDonald's, Spurlock would have a nutritionist and three doctors: a gastronomist (a doctor who specializes in the structure, functions, diseases, and pathology of the stomach and intestines), a cardiologist (a doctor who specializes with the heart ), and a general practitioner (a basic doctor). Before the movie ended, they all had advised him to stop. He was seriously damaging his body, they said... but he was determined.

Before Spurlock started, he was examined by each of his doctors and his nutritionist. Each one said he was perfectly healthy, and even above average for his age (which I can't exactly remember). He was 6 feet and 2 inches tall, and a healthy 185 pounds. He had no food allergies and was in good shape. Being average made him the perfect person for the job.

Parts of the movie showed him, his girlfriend (a vegan chef), his friends, and him talking on the phone with his mother. Everyone complained about how hard it was to watch him do this to himself. The effect of the junk food was shocking! You have to see it!

This movie was awesome, and it was filled with facts that I could not believe. The movie starts off with a lot of facts about junk food. According to the thorough research of the masterminds behind this movie, America is the fattest nation in the world, and over 60% of americans are obese! There are now 400,000 deaths per year caused by illnesses related to being overweight, which means that obesity has overtaken smoking for the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. That's really bad, folks!

Each day, 1 in 4 Americans visits a fast food restaurant. In fact, McDonald's feeds more than 46 million people a day. That's more than the entire population of Spain. It's clear that McDonald's is the leading fast food restaurant -- it represents 43% of the fast food industry.

So, how did McDonald's get so successful? Morgan Spurlock points out that it's the only company in the fast food industry that targets children. Many McDonald's have playplaces, host birthday parties, serve Happy Meals, and even distribute more toys per year than Toys-R-Us. Before most children can speak, they can recognize McDonald's. The average child sees 10,000 TV advertisements per year!

Studies show that adults feel more comfortable with products they recognize from their childhood, a fact McDonald's probably knows. Morgan took a few children aside and showed the pictures, asking them to recognize the person in the photo. Barely any of them could recognize George Washington, none of them could identify the picture of Jesus, and everyone knew who Ronald McDonald (the clown mascot) was.


If current trends continue, one in every three children born will develop diabetes in their lifetime, which can cut 17-27 years off your life. That's terrible! Editor's Note: McDonald's is not necessarily at fault for that -- but too much fast food can probably be connected to people having a higher chance of developing diabetes and other illnesses.

McDonald's foods are really fattening and unhealthy, too. Only seven items on McDonald's entire menu contain no sugar.

It may be argued that with proper exercise, McDonald's can be a healthy diet... but ACTUALLY you would have to walk for seven hours straight to burn off a Super Sized Coke, fries, and a Big Mac.

Some people who don't agree with Morgan's experiment and studies may also say that nobody ACTUALLY eats McDonald's for every meal of every day, but in fact a lot of people do get pretty close to that! College students, poor residents, and many other people with less cash handy are drawn to the dollar menu.

French fries are the most eaten vegetable in America, and there's one soda vending machine for every 97 Americans. If you STILL think fast food diets are under control, then consider this: in 1972, we spent $3 billion a year on fast food -- today we spend more than $110 billion.

I apologize for the long article, and endless statistics, but I feel this information is important and is worthy of being printed in the Whyville Times. To find out more about how Morgan Spurlock's experiment went, and more detail on the miserable effects of an overdose of McDonald's, watch the marvelous documentary, "Super Size Me!"

Come on, what do you have to lose?

I hope you enjoyed my article! Thanks a lot!

Editor's Note: You can get this info and more from the movie's fairly shocking website, http://www.supersizeme.com/home.aspx. You should get your parents' permission before going there, because some people might be traumatized by the vivid depiction of fast food and bad health.

If you found that movie disturbing yet fascinating, older Whyvillians might want to check out
Fast Food Nation, a powerful look into the effects of fast food, from McDonald's to Subway, on the American diet. DEFINITELY get your parents' permission before reading it, though -- the topics are serious, and some of the scenes described in meat packing factories, etc. are just plain scary. Even adults should read this book with care.

Thanks for your report, camii559!


Did you like this article?
1 Star = Bleh.5 Stars = Props!
Rate it!
Ymail this article to a friend.
Discuss this article in the Forums.

  Back to front page