With the release of documentaries like King Corn, Food Inc (shown on PBS) Supersize Me and Fat Head, the basic outline of the obesity epidemic which threatens American wellbeing more successfully than terrorism are pretty clear, and you might think it wasn’t worth viewing Killer At Large, a 2008 effort which broadly covers the whole topic, but it boils down the topic very well with deft illustrations of all the main points with good material, including possibly the cutest child ever screened (at minute 52, telling the filmmaker Steven Greenstreet what the school serves for lunch – “Pizza!”).
The essential point about all such examinations of what could be rated as the biggest signpost to the End of America is that a subsidized supply of junk food based on cheap corn is fattening up kids as well as adults so that the next generation will be diabetic and immobile. But the degree to which government is complicit, rather than helpful, is brought out vividly in this labor of love (which it turned into, according to the proud filmmaker).
So although this documentary on obese America is fairly predictable for much of its coverage of America eating itself to death, since at this stage the topic is covered daily on every local news channel, some of its claimed stats are still extraordinary, even mind blowing.
Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat ( (2008 NR 102 minutes) Obesity causes 110,000 American deaths each year and plays a role in one-third of all cancer deaths. Yet, despite ballooning concerns, little is being done on the public policy level, as this probing documentary explains. Exploring the issue from individual, political, scientific and cultural perspectives, the film features appearances by Bill Clinton, Ralph Nader, Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona and others. Cast:Bill Clinton, Ralph Nader, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chevy Chase, Jayni Chase, Richard Carmona Director:Steven Greenstreet Genres.
The obesity numbers
Thanks to Earl Butz and his cheap subsidized corn complex, a toxic environment of junk food available at every store from bookstore to gas stop is turning Americans into diabetic water buffalo. Here are the numbers as recorded in 2008:
It takes 10 calories of fossil fuel to produce one calorie of processed food. About 20 per cent of the fossil fuel we burn goes to the food system. That is as much as goes to personal transportation. – Michael Pollan.
For every extra pound of weight that the average American gains, we are using slightly over 39 million additional gallons gallons of fuel (gasoline). We use a billion gallons of fuel more than in the sixties purely because we weigh more. Dr. Sheldon Jacobson University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
We’re spending more each year on keeping people in jail in California than we are on feeding every child in America! What are we thinking?! All this concern about war, about global warming, will be meaningless if all our children are going to have diabetes by the time they are 18!- Ann Cooper, militant lunch lady
One dollar can buy 1200 calories in the snack aisle, 875 calories in the soda aisle, but only 250 caolories in the produce aisle, and 150 calories of fresh orange juice.
Over 9 million American children are obese.
Two of those 20 oz soda pops have thirty teaspoons of sugar! – Sen Tom Harkin D-Iowa, Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Ranking Member.
Shrek is now used to sell Skittles, Snickers, Cheetos, Poptarts, Pez, MacDonald’s, M&Ms, Yogobites, FruitLoops, Choccotone, Eggowaffles, Frosted Flakes, Twinkies, Sierra Mist, ELFudge, Doublestops, and Berry Berry Banana Ypgowhiffs. “Shrek was a lovable character in his movies who wanted to do good. Now he is used to poison our kids, by selling foods which poison our kids by making them obese and unhealthy.” – Sen Tom Harkin D-Iowa, Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Ranking Member.
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.
Other remarkable points include the fact that USDA will recompense schools for junk food, but not for healthy salads, drinks and fruits because they won’t add up to the calorie floor.
Junk food as addiction
Hollywood High removed junk food as per Governor Scwarzenegger’s termination order, and dealers started visiting with bagfuls of chocolates and chips at a markup – aided and abetted by parents stuffing the same items through the school food. Meanwhile someone organized demonstrations against the Muppets when they taught kids fruit and veg were better for them than than cookies (signs included “Muppets Ain’t Pansies”).
Ads include one featuring a 7UP bottle bottle for an infant of two!, and a billboard with a baby breastfeeding on a MacDonalds burger. (Presented by Tom Harkin in the Senate, who said, “Just about borders on the obscene”.)
Food ads are rated by nag factor – 80 per cent, 50 per cent – ie the proportion of kids who are driven to nag their parents for the product. During Saturday morning cartoons, children are subjected top one food commercial every five minutes. For every hour a preschooler watches TV their risk of obesity rises 6%. Children under 8 cannot distinguish between commercials and programs.
An interesting conclusion one is forced to after viewing the entire film is that all the Taliban have to do – or any other enemies of the US – is wait a few years, when there will be no healthy recruits available for the armed services and therefore no ability to put boots on the ground anywhere to enforce US interests.
The young men and women of this country will all be immobilized by Type 2 diabetes.
Already 61% of US soldiers on active duty are overweight.
“The majority of amputations that our veterans suffer are because of Type 2 Diabetes – Dr Linda Kinsinger, Dept of Veterans Affairs.