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.
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