Obesity Media Overview — Movies

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Readers of Childhood Obesity News will recall Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me, which documented the filmmaker’s adventure as a human lab rat. He ate nothing but McDonald’s fare for a month, gained 25 pounds, sustained liver damage, and when he quit, experienced misery very much like the withdrawal symptoms felt by hard drug addicts going cold turkey.

The film Fat Head is backlash, from comedian Tom Naughton. It is criticism of the protest embodied in Supersize Me, but apparently it doesn’t come from a corporate source. “Edutainer” Naughton has a special interest, and takes a twinkling delight, in debunking what he calls “Spurlockian bologna.”

He knocks down the theories advanced or implied by Supersize Me, such as the possibility of becoming addicted to the cuisine served by the fast food giants. He and his sources also use the word “bogus” a lot and have nary a good word to say for the regulatory agency CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest). It is Naughton’s claim that anyone can eat exclusively fast food for a month and lose weight, if they have a functioning brain.

Fat Head seems to seems to have been made in the same spirit as the Childhood Obesity News category, “Everything you know is wrong.” In other words, it seems we are continually finding out that yesterday’s hot new discovery is today’s myth. Naughton says:

I cut two sections from the film. The first was the section about kids not walking to school anymore, people driving everywhere, etc. After I learned more about the negligible effect exercise has on weight loss, I cringed a bit every time I watched that section. What the research shows is that kids start getting fat first, then they stop moving around as much. Before they get fat, the kids who become fat later are just as active on average as their peers.

The video clips are funny even if you don’t agree with Naughton.

The indie film, Fat Kid Rules the World, is a Kickstarter project — in other words, the money needed to make it was raised through crowdfunding. The story originated with a novel of the same title, in the young adult genre, written by KL Going and published in 2003. This is what eminent critic Roger Ebert says about it:

Here is the story of a suicidal high school outsider that generates great sympathy for the character […] a boy with such low self-regard that he seems frozen in his tracks… At school, Troy isn’t picked on, but more invisible. He gains a little credibility simply by being acknowledged by Marcus, a popular rebel, who, strictly speaking, has been expelled by the school… It’s smart and observant, and when its laughs come, they’re of the dark humor variety.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “About the Film,” Fathead-movie.com
Source: “Fat Kid Rules the World,” SunTimes.com, 11/28/12
Image by Michi003.

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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