By Health Now, Wealth Forever, on September 1st, 2010
We, at Health Now Wealth Forever, like anything that confronts and reveals misconceptions, contradictions, or even conspiracies that are harming our health. That’s why we like the documentary: Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat.
This movie delves into the real reasons this country has an obesity problem. The director, Steven Greenstreet, lays the blame primarily on the corporate takeover of the food industry and the issues that takeover has caused in our daily lives. It is especially focused on revealing our government’s collusion in transforming our agriculture from small farms to profit by any means necessary. It also shines a light on the personal side of this conversion: the pain that obesity causes and the effect on our children’s present and future.
Killer at Large does not shy away from the human side of obesity. It makes a point of calling out the media outlets who dehumanize the obesity epidemic. Whenever the epidemic is covered by the news they use stock footage of crowds of obese Americans viewed from the neck down. Like a herd of cattle they can be thought of as completely separate from society.
Killer at Large immediately kills the idea the obese being separate from society by introducing us to Brooke Bates. At 12 years old, she is the youngest American to get liposuction. She isn’t lazy, she isn’t gluttonous, but she is 218 pounds. She has tried everything that is recommended by our current medical complex to combat her obesity and it hasn’t worked. So, she and her parents decided to get her liposuction. The director doesn’t judge and uses this to launch into the causes of her obesity.
Killer at Large describes our habitat as a toxic environment. We poison ourselves. We are told that is what is to be American. We choose unhealthy food because it tastes okay, is cheap, and is convenient. This is evident in the fact that people who eat fast food as their primary nutrition source are malnourished.
The movie contests that a big reason that we eat poorly is the constant stress that we are under. It is not just the stress caused by endless deadlines, but also by the culture of fear that we live in. The “War on Terror” has many people fearing every shadow. When we’re stressed our bodies decide they need to start storing food, driving us to eat more. When we eat more of the toxic foods we become less healthy and more likely to be obese, diabetic, or one of many other nutritional deficiencies (rickets and scurvy have actually reappeared). Why don’t we eat healthy foods then? Why is it that we reach for that bag of chips or king sized candy bar when we are stressed? Greenstreet contends that we are conditioned from youth to choose quantity over quality and you can get a lot more junk for your buck.
Much like the recent series Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Killer at Large blasts the USDA’s ideas of a good meal. To be reimbursed for lunches by the USDA, a school must supply a minimum of 650 calories. This is nearly impossible to do with healthy foods alone. This makes schools put pizza and french fries (considered a serving of vegetables, so is ketchup) on the daily menu. Kids will always choose the more accessible, and coincidentally less healthy, options. Add this to the fact that schools nationwide have added vending and soda machines to their halls in order to make ends meet. You see how carbohydrate addiction might become a problem at a young age.
Killer at Large also covers the enraging subject of our government encouraging our children to eat junk food. They make it sound almost like a conspiracy. In 1977, the FTC wanted to prohibit advertisers from advertising directly to kids. This idea was immediately killed by congress and their lobbyists. Now, the government actually helps the corporations advertise directly to kids. In 2006, George Bush and the heads of the food industry decided to use Shrek to tell kids to exercise more. At the same time Shrek was on the front of a special edition of Twinkies featuring green centers. Shrek was telling kids to exercise more and eat junk food at the same time.
The movie covers some other important factors in our rise in obesity including: the idea that we are actually getting our nutrition from oil, the incomprehensible reworking of the food pyramid, and the complete lack of support that the government gives to programs that are actually successful in lowering obesity rates.
Killer at Large is eyeopening, a little disturbing, highly intriguing, and definitely recommended.