April 5, 2011 -
Over this past weekend, I saw the documentary “Killer at Large”. Fundamentally, this is a story about how obesity is killing us in America. As you may know, Beachbody’s mission is to help end the trend of obesity and it is something that is the primary driver for Beachbody Coaches! If you don’t believe obesity is an issue, this movie will make you a believer really fast. Like the chart below. Before I give you my impressions, check out the trailer:
The beginning of this trailer really sets the stage for the rest of the movie. The first story is about a 12 year old girl (yes, 12) who gets liposuction. Personally, I think they went a little far by showing some of the surgery and the 16 Liters (35 lbs) of fat removed from the girl. I get the shock factor to show the extreme nature many are going to, but it was a bit much for me.
However, there were other more balanced views. They hit on topics from the government subsidization of corn which is causing it to go into EVERYTHING (as highlighted in Food, Inc) to the origin of human’s hunter/gatherer predisposed eating habits to the real winner of the industrial food era…oil. Rule of thumb on the last one…Buy Local whenever possible.
One area that really hit home for me was stress! Stress kicks up cortisone which tells our brain to eat and stomach to store fat. As an additional little benefit, it tells out metabolism to slow down. This is in our DNA and this works great when food is scarce. Today, traffic jams, work, and all the other the other things that stress us out, make us pack on the pounds.
There was a great focus on school lunches and how the government subsidizes only for meals above 600 calories. The power of vending machines in schools is enormous. This is BIG business to corporations. When Schwarzenegger pulled junk food vending machines from schools in California, there was candy and soda trade going on outside of schools, not unlike drugs. Wow.
- Children see 51 hours of food as each year on TV.
- 95% of the ads are for junk food.
- During Saturday morning cartoons, children see one food commercial every 5 minutes
- A pre-schooler’s risk for obesity increases 6% for every hour of TV watched per day
- Children under 8, cannot distinguish between commercials and programs.
- 46% of USDA approved “fruits and vegetables” consumed by kids annually are ketchup and french fries.
- When offered fast food at lunch, teenagers consume an average of 1,652 calories.
But all is not lost! They showed some great initiatives like a city who started “Shape Up Somerville”. Resturants had to pass criteria to get a “SUS” certification of healthy eating. They put in bike paths, encouraged walking to and from work, and educated people on how to reconnect with where their food comes from.
First and foremost, we all need to realize this is a VERY real issue. I’ll leave you with one more statistic.
- In 2006, the Center for Disease Control reported that obesity kills more than 112,000 American citizens each year.
- That same year, the U.S. State Department reported that terrorism killed 28 American citizens.
So this brings us back to the Surgeon Generals opening comments. Obesity is the American epidemic that is only getting worse. So what is the solution?
ALL OF US! Many of us have been through big life transformations by exercising and eating right. Although having a good workout routine is important, what most of us struggle with is eating right. I ate basically whatever I wanted with no filter or discretion for 34 years. Frankly, I just didn’t pay much attention. Then, I decided to educate myself and stop eating “whatever”. This is so hard for most of us because it takes alot of work. We are surrounded by poor food choices. We are told convenience is king. We are pounded by marketing messages that quantity wins over quality. A Double Cheeseburger for $1. Really!? I used to be ALL over them. No more.
I would recommend this documentary, especially to anyone with children. It is important to teach our kid’s good food habits. My kids have noticed that I started eating healthier. And they have become more open to start eating better food choices my wife and I have put in front of them. Food is fuel for our bodies. We tell our kids all the time, “this food” will make you healthy, big, and strong! Start teaching young! This isnt to say that kids cant have some cake at a birthday party or ice cream on a hot summer night. But like everything in life, moderation. It should be special, not every day.
You can see more at the Killer at Large website. You can also view a truncated “Educational Version” of the film below along with a clip on a program they put forth in the Bush era on getting healthier.
“Killer at Large” Educational Version (26:10)
I love Stephen Colbert at 4:21!