By Pete Vonder Haar | February 26, 2005

Americans are fat. Two out of three Americans are overweight or obese, but where does personal responsibility end and corporate responsibility take over? On the heels of two teenage girls suing McDonald’s for making them obese, director Morgan Spurlock sets out to discover what has made people in our country so fat. The result is “Super Size Me,” a hilarious and often terrifying look at the effects of fast food on the human body.

Spurlock decided to conduct an experiment in which he would subject himself to a diet of nothing but McDonald’s fast food for a month. He only allowed himself to eat what was available over the counter at the restaurant (including water), he couldn’t super size unless asked (he ended up being asked 9 times all told), he had to eat every item on the McDonald’s menu at least once, and he had to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Throughout his descent into the maelstrom of crappy food, he visited doctors and health professionals to track his decline in health.

At the beginning of the experiment, Spurlock clocked in at a svelte 6’ 2” tall and 185 pounds. His cholesterol was a healthy 168, his blood pressure 120/80, and his body fat measured 11%.

A month later, Spurlock’s weight had shot up to 210 pounds, his cholesterol was 230, and body fat had increased to 18%.

Rather than just following Spurlock as he visits new and exciting McDonald’s restaurants, “Super Size Me” shows interviews with medical professionals, advertising executives, and persons on the street in order to get a better idea of why people eat so much fast food, and what their attitudes toward the companies are.

“Super Size Me” presents a scathing indictment of the practices used to lure people, especially children, into eating fast food. McDonald’s sets itself up for exactly the kind of lawsuit it was subjected to simply because of its targeting of children with clowns, “happy meals,” and cartoons.

Spurlock has used a great deal of humor to address an issue that is rapidly becoming unfunny in this country, and he should be commended for it. “Super Size Me” may be an example of one man’s battle with the bulge, but it has much more to say about the alarming rate in which Americans are packing on the pounds.

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