Article Review: Issues of Fast Food and Obesity

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The fast food issue

The research paper Benefits of Utilizing the Documentary Super Size Me in a College Health-Related Fitness Course by Jennifer Beck, John David Johnson, and Bronagh Gallagher addresses the essential for the contemporary American social issues of fast food and obesity. “In 2000, a poor diet including obesity and inactivity caused 400,000 U.S. deaths – more than 16 percent of all deaths and the No. 2 killer”. McDonald’s is one of the largest producers and distributors of fast food in the world. Nowadays, there are heated debates concerning its influence on poor eating habits and obesity problems. McDonald’s officials deny the fact that their food is the major cause of these health problems and claim that their fast food can become a part of a healthy diet. These claims were called in question by a filmmaker Morgan Spurlock who produced a film Super Size Me in 2004. The main aim of the film was to find out whether McDonald’s food would harm human’s health if he/she consumed nothing but the products available in this fast-food restaurant. The experiment lasted for one month, during which Spurlock gained 25 pounds and developed serious problems connected with cholesterol and the cardiovascular system. What is more, the filmmaker interviewed experts in 20 U.S. cities and spoke with the surgeon general, physical education teachers, cooks, and lawmakers. His film gained many appraisals from the general public as well as critical responses from the Mc Donald’s representatives.

The main aim of the research conducted by the scholars was to evaluate the possible benefits of using the documentary as a part of a health-related fitness course. The study was conducted on 106 students who filled in two questionnaires – before watching the film and after. The results are really astonishing as the responses after seeing the film indicate higher levels of awareness of the fast-food harmful effect on physical and psychological health. The conducted research is a truly academic experiment, which establishes certain rules for the information organization and the report construction. The report is subdivided into several major subtopics that address the versatile points of the research. The language of the article is precise and scholarly, yet it is easily comprehensible. The report abounds in statistical data and contains several tables, which increases the overall credibility. The effect of the film is complemented by the researchers’ commentaries on the topic, which are added to the persuasiveness of the content. If a reader has not watched the film prior to reading the report, he/she will surely do it. Moreover, it is obvious that the researchers are deeply involved in the topic as they do not only analyze the harmfulness of fast food and usefulness of the documentary but also manage to work out recommendations for implementing the video into the college course. The only limitation that may be viewed as a minor drawback of the article is that the research results have not been proved in the long-term perspective.

Weighing the Impact of Super Size Me by Suemedha Sood is a review of Morgan Spurlock’s documentary and the author’s personal perception of it. The author of the article aims to answer two significant questions: “Is Super Size Me just another documentary? Or is it helping change the face of the Fast Food industry?” Contrary to the previous report, the language of this article is personalized and informal. Usage of contractions, some slangy words, and direct addresses, as well as rhetoric questions, creates some sort of connectedness and reliable relations between a reader and the author. In such a way, persuasiveness is also increasing. The personal appeal of the author contributes to the general level of credibility of the information. The content is logically organized and, thus, can be easily comprehended. However, disruptions of the continuous flow of thought by thought-provoking questions and comments turn this article into something more valuable than just an entertaining piece of writing. Two final paragraphs contain the author’s personal attitude towards the film, which indicates a high level of engagement in the topic. The documentary managed not only to influence the public perception of fast food but also affected the corporate policy of McDonald’s, which is truly unprecedented. Thus, Super Size Me may be turning out to become “a film of epic portions”.

The article Headwinds Ahead for Fast Food Stocks by Matthew Indyke and Brian Zen addresses the issue of fast-food restaurants from several perspectives, which is different from the previous articles. This item focuses on the financial side of the fast-food development. The authors analyze the factors that influence the economic situation in the fast-food market. What is more, they pose a crucial question of whether established companies like McDonald’s will be able to maintain their positions in a highly competitive environment. Their business is also affected by various films and programs that emphasize the harmfulness of their products. Apart from the documentary Super Size Me, authors also mention a film Fast Food Nation that “gives a scary insight into the manufacturing process of fast food and its slimy working environment”. Furthermore, the article mentions the main rivals of the existing fast-food chains. Fast-casual chains are a significant improvement in quality and service in comparison with old giants like McDonald’s and Starbucks. The article also contains a short description of some popular fast-casual restaurants like Panera and Five Guys Burgers. The objectivity of the presented information increases the level of credibility. Authors’ arguments seem to be persuasive as they are supported by statistics and researches. The article is seemed to be written by professionals who are well aware of the current economic tendencies. Moreover, one of the authors is the owner of stocks of the discussed companies, which are said to be on their way to decline, for example, McDonald’s. This fact implies a high level of personal involvement in the topic; yet, it does not prevent the authors from stating objective drawbacks and hazards of popular fast-food chains. As the information deals with several perspectives like financial, consumers-related, and health-related ones, the article is divided by subheadings, which facilitates comprehension.

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This page contains a list of Fast Food Facts from the Super Size Me Web Site with a link to the documentary. The difference and appeal of this list are that it is complemented by visual effects like a picture and a green background that calls for attention. At first glance, the facts may seem objectively enumerated. They imply the author’s negative attitude towards fast food and namely McDonald’s. These quotes from the film are very persuasive in terms of abandoning a harmful habit of poor dieting. However, readers can decide for themselves whether they want to be healthy or to become “heavy consumers”.

The article Fast-Food Culture Serves Up Super-Size Americans by Bridget Murray is a short outline of Kelly Brownell’s report at the American Psychological Association’s 2001 Annual Convention. The professor’s ideas are summed up in the article subheading: “Stop blaming people or their genes – it’s an abundance of unhealthy, heavily advertised, low-cost food that underlies the nation’s obesity crisis”. The article addresses the fast food issue from the health perspective. Prospects are not very optimistic as fast food causes major health problems Americans. However, professor Brownell offers a way of advocating for alterations in society’s policy. The article is persuasive due to its appeal to authority. Its construction facilitates the process of reading as major points are either indented or in bold. As the author mentions only negative aspects of fast food consumption, it becomes implicitly obvious what her personal attitude to the problem is. Thus, the level of engagement in the topic is high. The credibility of information is increased by the trustworthiness of the APA and the high status of the authority that the author appeals to. Moreover, the article contains some warning signs and some efficient solutions of the discussed fast food problem.

The article By Year’s End, Regular Size Will Have to Do by Bruce Horovitz addresses a much-discussed issue of how McDonald’s is getting rid of its supersize offers. The article gives several possible reasons for such a move: the influence of the documentary Super Size Me and the restaurant’s campaign for balanced dieting. The article is relatively objective concerning the way of information presentation. It is followed by a picture of the supersize menu, which instantly draws the readers’ attention. Although the author does not state his personal opinion and tries to remain objective, it is evident that he approves of such a move. Besides, he ruminates over the possible effects of the move towards healthy food in menus on other fast-food chains like Burger King. The articles contain several quotes, thus, it exploits appeal to authority as a way of increasing credibility. Horovitz is very optimistic about the dieting habits of the whole nation; though, he may overestimate the influence of McDonald’s saying that “By seeing a reduction in the size of fast-food meals, many consumers may ultimately reduce the size of the meals they eat at home”.

The article End of the ‘Supersize’ Soda as New York Mayor Announce Large Fizzy Drinks Ban by Mark Hughes addresses the recent Michael Bloomberg’s proposal aimed at outlawing the sale of sweetened drinks larger than 16 fluid ounces. New York’s mayor claims that this move will significantly improve the squalid situation with obesity in the state. His proposal has met a lot of disapproving and outright negative remarks, especially from the McDonald’s representatives who call this law a violation of freedom. However, such a radical move may really help decrease the obesity levels as “sweetened drinks are partly to blame for this increase in the past 30 years”. The article is objective in terms of mentioning all opinions on the topic. Hughes does not express his personal view of the issue and it is difficult to judge his level of involvement, as he exploits mostly a neutral language. This fact and the appeal to various authorities increase the credibility of the information. Moreover, the trustworthy reputation of The Telegraph also makes the article reliable. Usage of the picture in the beginning and some extra links to other articles on the topic contribute to the comprehensiveness of the content.


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