On the one hand, the effects of the experiment upon Spurlock himself which include rapid weight gain, depression and a general reduction in health personified by the quote “I’m dying this is making me puke” (Spurlock) after eating a meal serve to highlight the problems to the viewing public. However, on the other hand, the very unscientific nature of the experiment leaves the viewer questioning the real value of the experiment from a research perspective. For instance, in the course of the experiment Spurlock imposes some pretty unrealistic conditions which include eating only from the McDonald’s menu for every meal in a day and having to finish every meal.
Having watched the movie, real questions may be raised as to the choices made by students and those who run catering facilities in the context of the education system. At one point the nutritionist in the movie states “The average daily requirement for you to maintain a healthy weight of approximately 185 is 2,500 calories per day, right now you’re getting about 5,000 a day on average.” (Spurlock) This promoted me to consider my own choices and whether or not the food served in my own experiences of the education system made is easy or hard to consume the correct energy balance. In this case it would appear that the foods offered in many school catering facilities make it difficult for students to achieve the right energy balance.
One of the key problems facing students as Spurlock found out in the movie is the high calories offered in sodas and other drinks. This was solved by one school in the movie by simply banning the presence of soda and vending machines on site which encouraged students to make healthier choices as well as seeing material improvements in behaviour and academic attainment in the school.
Unsurprisingly, the school which had implemented this strategy was located in Illinois, a state which the movie quoted as having the “highest level of obesity” (Spurlock) in the entire of the USA. While positive impacts were seen from the removal of junk food and sodas from the school, opposition to such polices remains widespread, not least from the powerful lobbyists who represents the food industry in the United States. In this case, lobbyists argue that policies such as providing free soda help schools to generate a valuable revenue stream that benefits students. However, the results of banning such schemes as seen in the case study school may be seen as having a greater level of service to the general health and wellbeing of the students than can be provided by a revenue stream alone. Others go so far as to consider that such revenue streams are of little benefit to the schools that use them with the soda companies taking a significant cut.
Super Size Me. Dir. Morgan Spurlock. 2005. Film.