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COP3 - Secondary Research - Supersize Me

Super Size Me (2004)

Super Size Me is a 2004 American documentary film directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock, an American independent filmmaker. Spurlock's film follows a 30-day period from February 1 to March 2, 2003 during which he ate onlyMcDonald's food. The film documents this lifestyle's drastic effect on Spurlock's physical and psychological well-being, and explores the fast food industry's corporate influence, including how it encourages poor nutrition for its own profit.

Spurlock ate at McDonald's restaurants three times per day, eating every item on the chain's menu at least once. Spurlock consumed an average of 20.92 megajoules or 5,000 kcal (the equivalent of 9.26 Big Macs) per day during the experiment. As a result, the then-32-year-old Spurlock gained 24½ lbs. (11.1 kg), a 13% body mass increase, a cholesterol level of 230, and experienced mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and fat accumulation in his liver. It took Spurlock fourteen months to lose the weight gained from his experiment using a vegan diet supervised by his future wife, a chef who specializes in gourmet vegan dishes.

The reason for Spurlock's investigation was the increasing spread of obesity throughout U.S. society, which the Surgeon General has declared "epidemic," and the corresponding lawsuit brought against McDonald's on behalf of two overweight girls, who, it was alleged, became obese as a result of eating McDonald's food [Pelman v. McDonald's Corp., 237 F. Supp. 2d 512]. Spurlock points out that although the lawsuit against McDonald's failed (and subsequently many state legislatures have legislated against product liability actions against producers and distributors of "fast food"), much of the same criticism leveled against the tobacco companies applies to fast food franchises whose product is both physiologically addictive and physically harmful.


"Look after the customer, and the business will take care of itself"

Ray Kroz - McDonald's Founder

Quite an ironic quote, and amusing that the founder of McDonald's acts like an angel on the surface but there is some many hidden things underneath. 

A Few Facts

  • 60% of American Adults are obese
  • 1 in 4 people in Mississippi are obese
  • 1 in 4 Americans visit a Fast Food Joint daily.
  • McDonald's have more than 30,00 joints in over 100 countries.
  • 46 million people are served daily at McDonalds. 
  • In America, 43% of Fast Food joints are McDonalds. 

17 mins

John F. Banzhaff III  -  Law Professor, George Washington University

"40% of the meals we eat are eating out. In terms of responsibilty it's fair ro point the finger at Mcdonalds. It cant be our neighbourhood restaraunts or eating at home becasue we've been doing that for years."


"Far more than all the others, McDonalds lives in young kids. They have the paygrounds. At 2, 3 or 4 their being lured in. Mcdonalds is very heavy on 'Birthday Parties' and they pioneered the 'Happy Meal' with the 'gotta-have-em' toys. And of course the clown - Ronald McDonald appeals to kids."

19 mins


David Satcher - MD, Former US Surgeon General 

"were super-sizing everything. You go to any fast food restaurant, they're trained to ask you to buy a bigger size. For 5 cents more you can get the super size. "

Lisa Young - Professor of Nutrition, New York University

"when fast food chains first opened, they generally introduced one size. There was one size of fries when McDonalds first opened which was 200 calories. That same size friends is now called SMALL. Theres now Medium, Large and Supersize, which is around 600 calories."

"Same with drinks and across the board of fast food chains. cars have now increased the size of the drinks holder to accommodate the '7/11 Big Gulp' drink which holds half a gallon of soda and 800 calories, which is 48 teaspoons of sugar."

A PRIME example of how the world has become 'Mcdonalized' is the drink cup car holder. and the fact that people are accepting this steady rise in portion size.


24 mins 

Morgan Spurlock - Documentary Maker 

"The toxic environment is constant access to cheap, flat laden food. It's gas stations that sell more candy and soda than gass. It's a world where people depend on their cars for transportation."

David Satcher - MD, Former US Surgeon General 

"Left alone, obesity will overtake smoking as the number one cause of death in America."

SMOKING & KIDS (Case Study)

John F. Banzhaff III  -  Law Professor, George Washington University

"There was this secret study by one of the tobacco companies that had the ominous title - something like "Brand imprinting for later actuation in life.". They would buy little toy cigarettes and start 'play smoking' them at 4, 5 and 6 (years old). They wouldn't even notice the packaging, but the theory was that it's buried in the brain. So, when they get to the age of smoking, without even realising it, they're going for that pack that they recognise because it has those nice feelings that they remember from being little kids. It's the same way here. They're satisfied, it's nice, they remember the warm feeling of playing, getting they're toy, being with mom and dad. It's gonna' carry through. "

Comparing a very interesting study about smoking and kids to the same advertising techniques that McDonalds use which makes the nice feelings of being a kid at Mcdonalds carry through into adult life. 

The Impact

29 mins

"If current trends continue 1 in 3 children born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime."

"The direct medical costs of diabetes have doubled in the last 5 years."


43 mins

Ron English - Artistic Genious

"America has been Mcdonalized. It's been franchised out. It's like the old Flinstones cartoon where you had the same buildings go by in the background as they drove around. McDonalds, Walmart, Wimpy. McDonalds, Walmart, Wimpy....

Advertisments & Kids 

44 mins 

"The average American child sees 10.00 food advertisements per year on TV. 95% of these are for sugared cereals, soft drinks, fast food or candy. It's not a fair fight with parents (who are trying to feed their kids the right things.)"

Margo Wooten, Centre of Science in Public Interest 

"By the time kids are able to speak, most of them can say McDonalds."

1st grade students experiment

In this experiment the kids don't know who famous figures are in history such as Jesus, George Bush etc, but they all know who Ronald McDonald is. They've seen him on "Television"

Talk more in depth about this and link it to your own experiment?

Big Spenders

"In 2001, on direct media advetising; Radio, Tv and Print, McDonald's spend 1.4 billion dollars worldwide. In it's peak year , the '5-a-day' healthy eating campaign spent a mere 2 million dollara which is over a 1000 times less."

Marion Nestle - Chair of Nutrition and Food Studies, New York University

"Think about how food is marketed. T-shirts, Coupons, Toys, Giveaways, Placemans. All of the ways in which food is marketed is ubiquidous. The most heavily advertised foods are consumed the most. It's no surprise."

Nutritional Information

Is nutritional information available in store??

- Only half the Mcdonalds is manhatton had nutrirional info on the wall

- Some had charts to take away 

- 1 in 4 had no infomation whatsoever

John F. Banzhaff III  -  Law Professor, George Washington University

"You can't argue that people should excersise personal responsibility and then not give them the information on which to base it."


1.12 mins

"If you look at a fast food restaurant they use all of the addicting components. They take a slab of meat, cover it in cheese, which is full of the k-zone morphines, the opiates found in the cheese protein. They serve it with sugary sod, which has the addictive powers of sugar and CAFFIENE. That combination - a 12 year old kids brain is no match for. "

out of 100 Nutritionists surveyed;

2 out of 100 said that you should eat fast food twice a week or more. 

45 out of 100 said you should never eat it. 

95 out of 100 said that fast food is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. 

McDonalds' Influence on the Government 

How much influence on the Government Legislates does the food industry have?

1.22 mins 

Marion Nestle - Chair of Nutrition and Food Studies, New York University

"The food industry is an enormous business in the USA, therefore it employs very expensive and well paid lobbyists and those lobbyists are in Washington for three purposes. 

1. To make sure that no Government agency ever says eat less McDonalds. 

2. To make sure that the Government never passes legislation that is unfavourable. 

3. To encourage the Government to pass favourable legislation. 

"Were part of the Problem"

"Why should these companies want to change? They're loyallty is not to you, it's to the stockholders. The bottom line is, they're a business, no matter what they say. And by selling you unhealthy food, they make millions. And no company wants to stop doing that. If this ever growing problemis going to shift, it's up to you. But if you decide to keep living this way, go ahead. Over time you may find yourself getting as sick as I did, and you may wind up in hospital. or a graveyeard. I guess the big question is, who do you wanna see go first? You? or them?"

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