Fast food has become a way of life for many Americans and it is a growing trend around the world as well. When high calorie food options are the common dining choice, not only can this create nutritional deficiencies, but it can also raise the risks of obesity and other related diseases, such as diabetes.
Every day, 25% of Americans will visit a fast food establishment for at least one of their meals.
There is a lot of money at stake in the fast food industry. In 1972, only $3 billion per year was being spent on fast food. Today that amount exceeds $100 billion, a massive increase even when inflation is taken into account. The simple fact is this: with more money comes an expectation of more convenience… and nothing is as convenient as fast food when it comes to a meal.
Three Facts to Consider Right Now
1. French fries are the most commonly eaten vegetable in the United States.
2. More than 1 million animals are eaten per hour in the US alone.
3. McDonald’s by itself feeds more than 46 million people per day, or more people than the entire population of Spain.
Takeaway:A lot of blame can be placed on the fast food industry, and rightly so with their marketing efforts that blatantly target children, but some blame has to be placed on people who choose convenience over health on a daily basis. Even the best of marketing materials can’t forcibly cause someone to choose to eat a hamburger and fries that has over 1,000 calories in it and enough salt to satisfy a weekly sodium intake. That comes at the individual level and it is individuals that must start to make the changes that need to be made for better overall health.
What Is Knowing These Supersize Me Statistics So Important?
1. At least 1 out of every 3 kids born today will develop diabetes at some point within their lifetime.
2. 60% of Americans right now are defined as being overweight or obese based on their BMI percentage.
3. If left unchecked, obesity is expected to surpass smoking as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
4. The average child sees over 10,000 television advertisements every year and children under the age of 6 believe that what is being said in an advertisement is fact, not marketing.
5. McDonald’s distributes more toys every year than Toys-R-Us does.
6. Only 7 items on the entire menu that McDonald’s offers contain no sugar at all.
7. The World Health Organization has declared obesity has a global epidemic.
Takeaway: Again, it comes down to choices. If you have a choice between running through the drive-thru of a fast food place to get a meal quickly or waiting 15 minutes to get something made at home or created for you at the grocery store, what are you going to do in a time crunch? Go hungry? Wait and be late? Or grab the fast food option? Fast food by itself isn’t evil and it’s fine as an occasional treat. When this food option is used and abused, however, problems can begin. It is those problems that Supersize Me is looking to eliminate.
What Happened During the Course of Filming?
1. After one month of eating dedicate fast food meals, Morgan Spurlock gained over 24 pounds.
2. His cholesterol levels went up 65 points in just one month and his body fat percentage went from 11% to 18%.
3. He nearly doubled his risk of coronary heart disease and increased uric acid levels in his body, creating the foundation for gout to occur.
4. Spurlock reported that the more he ate fast food, the more likely he was to experience cravings for the food when he couldn’t have it.
5. In just two weeks, his liver developed enough fat around it that it began to leak out enzymes, the definition of a sick liver.
6. McDonald’s has not disputed the facts that were presented in the movie.
Takeaway: There’s no doubt about the fact that the dietary choices of Americans in particular are not as good as they should be. With over 100 million people overweight in some way and the amount of children who are classified as obese doubling in the last 3 decades, it is easy to see why being overweight is considered preventable. McDonald’s is targeted because they are the largest franchise, with over 30k restaurants in over 100 countries on all 7 continents, making up 43% of the entire fast food market. Every fast food restaurant like McDonald’s, however, is a contributor to this issue, just as anyone who choose to regularly eat from fast food menus.
What Needs to Change?
1. 60% of Americans admit that they get very little, if any, exercise every day.
2. The smallest size of soda in the United States is the largest size of soda that is available in France.
3. There are 83 McDonald’s locations in New York City within a 22.4 square mile radius, which means there are 4 restaurants in every square mile of the city.
4. Americans eat out for 40% of their meals for those that eat 3 primary meals per day.
5. The US government lists a single serving of animal-based protein as being 3 ounces and the average fast food establishment serves up to 5 times that amount.
6. Just one bagel but itself is the equivalent of up to 600 calories. That’s also the same amount of calories in a large fries.
7. At Burger King, the 12 ounce drink used to be a small, but it is now the kid’s size drink.
8. Even cars have been changed to be equipped with extra-large cup holders so that they can accommodate the half a gallon of soda that comes with the largest size drinks.
Takeaway: What needs to happen in the United States, and around the world to some extent, is for eyes to be opened. Instead of just blindly accepting something as needed or wanted, take a second or a third look at what is being offered. Are you really saving money if you get a 30 ounce drink instead of a 16 ounce drink? Is there more value in a product that has been super-sized? The answer is generally no. If you weren’t planning on purchasing something and then you decide to do so, you haven’t saved any money whatsoever! What fast food establishments are playing on is the perception of value by suggesting that you can get more for a smaller additional investment.