Supersized America – The Bigger The Better?

While we all think that Wall Street greed and the huge pay packets of “fat cat” speculators and bankers brought about the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the actual cause is entirely different. This was said to be just the trigger of the real cause, which is US gluttony.

America has gotten used to stuffing itself. You would understand if you had seen the 2004 documentary, “Super Size Me,” by Morgan Spurlock. It conveys the consequences of gluttony.

What does supersizing mean? It refers to the American habit of “supersizing” all the fast foods and getting consumers to opt for the bigger sizes for reasons of “economy” or savings. You would have seen the pricing policy adopted by most fast food sellers. The bigger the size, the lesser you pay. This psychological trigger works wonders and consumers end up being the scapegoats opting for bigger sizes while the people selling them laugh all the way to the bank.

In fact, Morgan Spurlock, the film-maker practically tested this by surviving on a diet of three McDonald meals a day, for thirty days. The result was drastic – he ended up heavier by 11.1 kg. This weight gain was the least of his worries. He also developed all sorts of health problems; such as high blood pressure, psychological disorders and liver problems. Coming back to normal was a long and arduous task, which included a rigorous detoxification program for 14 months.

This experiment brings to light America’s insatiable appetite, not only for food but for everything, right from gas-devouring cars to climate-controlled condominiums. United States’ consumption levels far exceed its population, which is only 5% of the World population. America consumes 24 percent of the world’s energy. It is said that an average American consumes as much energy as 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis or 370 Ethiopians.

Statistics reveal that approximately, a total of 815 billion calories are consumed by America daily. According to nutritionists, this is 200 billion more than the required amount. This figure is without taking into consideration the huge amounts of completely edible food thrown away by Americans daily, which is around 200,000 tons. Experts are of the opinion, that very soon, the Earth will be bereft of resources and it will become necessary to create four new Earth-sized planets.

When will American consumers realize that the huge sodas and supersized fast foods that come cheap can cost them dearly in the long run?

America has become the land of the obese and statistics show that the number of obese adults doubled in the last couple of years. It has become almost an epidemic and about 300,000 Americans are said to die each year due to overweight. It is the second leading cause of preventable death after smoking.

People in the Public Health departments realize that obesity is a long-neglected problem and solutions need to be found. They say that obesity will very soon exceed the risks cause by puffing on butts.

It is important to know that obesity is not just storing fat in the body, but a cause for dreaded diseases, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, sleep apnea and many others.

It would be interesting to note that the problem of obesity has created a controversial debate over whether it can be classified as a disease. While the National Institutes of Health say that it should be considered as a disease; the U.S. surgeon general is of the opinion that obesity is a condition. They say that obesity cannot be classified as a disease because people have control over it and it is in their hands to reduce weight.

It is a sad day indeed, because while others fight over the issue of classification of obesity, we continue to eat those huge burgers and drink gallons of cola and add on pounds.

We may get way with consuming more energy, because we may not be affected by it during our lifetime; but can we say the same about our health – about our lives? The saying, “we are what we eat” holds true. In order to be healthy and to keep physical and emotional suffering at bay as long as we live, we have to understand what our body needs – not what satisfies our palate.

Supersized America has to think of the children who are going to suffer the same fate tomorrow. After all, children learn by following their parents. Time to realize that the colas you so lovingly give your children are harming them.