Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat
A documentary film was addressing epidemic obesity in the USA opens with a stirring speech by former surgeon general Dr. Richard Carmona, who says, “Obesity is the terror within. Unless we do something about it, the magnitude of the dilemma will dwarf 9-11 or any other terrorist attempt.” The film emphasizes the fact that obesity is a crime on the body. It successfully makes the audience aware of the fact that we’re getting fatter, and it’s killing us – worse yet, it’s killing our children.
Obesity rates in the United States are climbing at an unprecedented rate across all ages and ethnic groups and leading to the first generation of children whose life expectancy is shorter than that of their parents. A young girl, Brooke Bates, undergoes liposuction at the age of 12 and then undergoes lap-band surgery shortly after that. We see slideshows with oozing blood, open wounds caused by diabetes.
Effect on America’s Youth
Experts interviewed during the film estimate that 44-45% percent of school-aged children will be insulin-dependent diabetics within ten years at current rates or that we, as a nation, are 5 billion pounds overweight. They go on to say that American school’s nutrition guidelines are out of date, needing to change to reverse or even slow down this epidemic.
Humans have been on the face of the earth for almost 4 million years, and there has never been enough food. Our human race depended on the “survival of the fittest”. The only way of meeting days ends was hunting for food all day which meant that all they did all day ensured burning calories. But, now humans don’t have a way of cutting out their food desires and Calories have now become a one-way process with no burning of them but only an intake.
Interestingly, the most overlooked factors of obesity, also causing the astounding increase in rates of obesity are stress and fear. Cortisol, released by the adrenal glands, is a hormone that regulates food intake. Stress caused increased release of cortisol that keeps telling our brain to eat and our belly to store food. The standard and accepted causes of America’s obesity crisis are an increasingly sedentary lifestyle coupled with poor eating habits.
The film also addresses the relationship between government health recommendations and the food industry. The experts expressed their fear over the proportion of increased production of corn and obesity risk. The corn produced by farmers merely benefits the federal government and only causes obesity among people. The people with the least money are eating the most calories. The big stores promote high-calorie food for the cheaper money. Today, the fruits and vegetable cost more than the packaged and canned food.
The vending machines in the schools are the biggest helpers for the obesity in the children. They generate money, and the children become fatter. The California Governor banned the vending machines in the schools saying that schools can get money by not making the children obese. The irresistible ads by the food industry lure children into their trap and cause obesity. Children watch fifty-one hours of television ads alone each year. Each Saturday, children, watch one food commercial every five minutes.
The loveable children’s character Shrek was chosen as a government spokesperson for a program that encouraged children to “get out and play for an hour a day.” But shame on the advertisers, that they used more and more Shrek pictures on the package to sell their dangerous products to children and making them obese and unhealthy. Such ads were banned on account of the fact that they deceive kids, those without enough maturity to discriminate healthily and the sick. But as cunning and crafty the advertising industry is, the bill was curtailed because they stated that it was a violation of their right to free speech.
Regrettably, the standards of today are not becoming healthy, but the companies are using the language of health by manipulative words like omega-3 and vitamins. Lastly, the movie ends on a positive note saying that we can enjoy all the food that we want but need to exercise all that calorie intake so as to prevent the fat from building up. The people of the city of Somerville, Massachusetts are setting a new trend by practicing active measures like eating healthy food and exercising (walking, biking) and their restaurants are selling healthy food for a change. If all cities take up healthy practices like that and humans beings become human doings, we can combat this dangerous epidemic, obesity.