The growth of obesity in the United States in recent months has captured many headlines. Recently, a film at the Sundance Film Festival provided a comedic yet serious look at filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s 30-day binge on nothing but McDonalds. Eating fast food is not necessarily a cause of obesity, but there is mounting evidence that eating too much fast food does. With the addition of each fast food venue, such as the Burger King located near Cooper Hall, there is a growing temptation for students to succumb daily to the convenience and inexpensiveness of fast food.
Students seeking the resolve to find alternatives to fast food would do well to watch Spurlock’s documentary. Spurlock produced Super Size Me: A Film of Epic Portions after hearing about a lawsuit filed by two New York girls against McDonalds claiming the fast-food giant was responsible for their obesity.
Three times a day, for 30 days, Spurlock consumed McDonalds meals, and, if the server offered to super size his meal, he had to except and consume every bite. After the diet began, Spurlock and three doctors who agreed to monitor his health were shocked with the impact these meals were having on his body. Within days he was vomiting and battling headaches, depression, and a vanishing sex drive. Spurlock told The New York Post, “I got desperately ill. My face was splotchy and I had this huge gut, which I’ve never had in my life…It was amazing — and really frightening.”
Once the documentary wrapped, Spurlock’s liver had become overwhelmed with saturated fats and it resembled pÃ¢tÃ©, The New Zealand Times explained. His cholesterol level leapt from a 165 to 230 and he gained approximately 26 pounds.
It’s not McDonalds’ responsibility to monitor what Americans eat everyday or in what quantities. Common sense should tell people that eating too much of anything can be potentially unhealthy. Consuming fast food every now and then is unlikely to cause health issues. However, when fast food seems to be the preferred option of a majority on campus, students need to be aware that they are should monitor how much they are consuming and how often.
Students who find themselves walking through the doors of Burger King on a daily basis can’t claim there are no alternatives on campus. Since Aramark took over the dining services contract from Sodexho in 2002, the company has worked closely with USF Dining Services to provide students with a variety of eating options.
In the Phylis P. Marshall Center, outlets such as Montague’s Deli, Salad Garden Freshens Smoothie Company and even Einstein Bros. Bagels offer alternatives to the burger, fries and soda combination. Dining venues such as On Top of the Palms in the Marshall Center and the Andros Dining Center have been revamped and even offer vegetarian and vegan meals.
Students’ eating habits don’t quite resemble Spurlock’s yet, but if students are already on first name terms with the staff at Burger King or Chick-Fil-a, it may be time that they changed their eating habits.