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Killer at Large
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As this epidemic of obesity reaches out into even the most remote corners of the globe, only one thing seems clear, the issue is more complex than you could ever imagine.
Seeking to trace the problem to it's root, we find ourselves in the African Savannah 4 million years ago where we discover how our hunter gatherer ancestry, when mixed in with our modern environment of convenience, stress and abundance has led us to become the most obese generation in the history of the world. Perhaps an even more sobering fact is that we're the first modern society to raise a generation of children with a projected life expectancy that is shorter than that of their parents.
One of the film's most compelling characters is found in Brooke Bates, who after struggling with her weight for all her young life, resorted to liposuction and a tummy tuck at age 12 (all caught on camera). Where the media blitz around the surgery focused on her age and questioning her parents judgment, our documentary camera's dug deeper between the lines to address the confluence of emotional and environmental factors which lead Brooke and so many other young people down a contentious path of food addiction and self loathing.
Beyond the shocking medical statistics and newspaper headlines that one would expect, Killer at Large also examines the ethical and moral implications of the obesity epidemic with leaders of several world religions who sight scripture calling all believers to live healthful lives free of overindulgence and laziness, characteristics that are sadly becoming the norm.
The film goes on to expose the public policies that have been institutionalized by the government and their industrial paymasters who have worked to create an infrastructure that forces farmers to over-produce all the wrong kinds of foods for mass consumption. Add to that further policies that force the price of vegetables artificially high and the price of intensely processed food artificially low, making the poor uniquely positioned to suffer from the results of public policy on obesity.
Other policies and government programs that contribute to obesity are also explored, including those in our schools that are making our children obese. From George Bush's No Child Left Behind proposals and the Federal School Lunch Program to budget cuts and vending machines, America's public schools are becoming the perfect storm of conditions causing unprecedented weight gain in our nation's youth.
But most frightening of all are the National Security implications, causing Carmona to wonder, "Where will our soldiers, sailors and airmen come from? Where will our police and firemen come from if the youngsters today are on a trajectory that says that they will be obese?"
In fact, the problems with the military are presenting themselves now. According to Dr. Linda Kinsinger (U.S. Dept. of Veteran's Affairs) 71% of our veterans are overweight or obese and they suffer more amputations due to type 2 diabetes than from war-related injuries.
Clearly, America is on the wrong path and drastic action is needed to reverse this pandemic weight gain that is negatively affecting every segment of our population. Like Dr. Lionel Tiger says in the film, "It's a battle we fight three times a day and we've all been drafted. It's truly the most democratic of wars."
The film premieres Friday in New York and opens to wider distribution in January. An educational version (45 minutes) will be offered on DVD through the web site on Dec. 1; a theatrical version (104 minutes) will be available on DVD in April.
The documentary takes a broad look at many causes of overweight including our toxic food environment, the problems with school lunches and vending machines and the impact food lobbyists have on determining government policies. It also includes stories about young people who ve had gastric bypass surgery or liposuction. Plus, there are interviews with dozens of people who have tried to bring attention to the obesity problem including former president Bill Clinton, Kelly Brownell of Yale University and consumer advocate Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Young says making the documentary was eye-opening to him. At six-foot tall, he weighed 260 pounds when filming began two years ago. As he learned about the causes of obesity, the first thing he did was cut out fast food which he was eating almost daily for lunch. I lost 10 pounds in a month.
Then he stopped drinking caloric beverages such as juice and Gatorade and started drinking water and coffee. He had given up regular soda 10 years ago.
Young, who now weighs 220 pounds, says he isn t been able to go the gym as much as he d like to because he has been busy putting the finishing touches on the documentary, which cost $300,000 to make.
So what will it take to reverse this epidemic? Telling people to eat less and exercise more isn t working, says producer Steven Greenstreet. It s an extremely complicated and multi-faceted problem.
Adds Young: It s going to take progressive public policy action. We need to take action in our communities and schools.
Proceeds from Friday s New York premiere are being donated to the Children s International Obesity Foundation. The film s producers and the foundation will be presenting actor Chevy Chase and his wife Jayni with an award for their work in fighting childhood obesity. --USA Today, Nov. 19, 2008
Top Customer Reviews
We see practically everything on this topic; this film is well done indeed. For example, the footage of former US Surgeon General Richard Carmona shows him telling audiences that "obesity is the terror within; and unless we do something about it, the magnitude of the dilemma will dwarf 9/11 or any other terrorist event you can point out to me." Wow, what a statement! But the facts are there to support his claims: we are inundated with medical statistics and testimony from people from all walks of life that obesity is a fantastically serious problem that merits our immediate attention. Indeed, the film begins with us meeting a twelve year old girl, Brooke Bates, who has not been able to control her weight. Her parents willingly sign her up for liposuction despite her tender age! Yes, the liposuction procedure and an additional tummy tuck work wonders for her while she exercises--until, that is, she regains the weight that she lost; and by the end of the film we learn that she's going with her parents for an even more invasive procedure even though she's still only thirteen!
And it isn't just Brooke Bates. Bill Clinton goes on record as saying that obesity is a killer; and he's right. We get great comments from Dr.Read more ›
Sadly, even if people have studied this subject like I have, they may still partake in the demand for these FLPs. Wait until you see the scene where parents protest Sesame Street when the show begins promoting vegetables instead of cookies. The ignorance is very disturbing.
This obesity problem is multi-faceted in that it involves personal choice, culture, ignorance, cost, politics, corporate profits, etc. This movie provides a different perspective on the issue than Food, Inc. and King Corn (also excellent movies). If you care about your children and do not know much about this subject, buy this movie and change your family's eating habits. Knowledge is power...do not be a pawn to the "food" manufacturers. Know what food is and what FLPs are (brocolli vs. cheese nips, alaskan wild salmon vs. fast food fish sandwich, etc.) As a marketing major AND nursing major, I understand these issues. Watch the scene where the clever advertisers use Shrek to sell FLPs to children. This is why I exited marketing...I could not, in good conscience, lie to people just so I could fatten my wallet.Read more ›
It also does a good job at showing the federal government and the USDA caught red-handed at being influenced and corrupted by the food industry. There is a particularly effective segment in the film that addresses the federal government's "false" efforts to tackle the obesity problem. In the segment, Dreamworks collaborates with the USDA and President Bush to launch a campaign to get kids outside and moving instead of sitting on the couch with the television. Shrek is the character used in the public service announcement. The documentary then shows how Shrek is the mascot of junk food as well. Shrek promotes Twinkies, Skittles, and all sorts of other junk food products. This means that the USDA and President Bush are effectively promoting the junk food as well. Shrek is associated with "health" from the public service announcement about getting up and moving. Once children have made that association, and sees Shrek on Twinkies, then Twinkies will be associated with "health" as well.
The film really does a good job at spelling out each argument it is trying to make. The clean, no-narration style makes it a stronger film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you know anything about health, then this is basically a reminder course. No new information.Published 4 months ago by Jen
I just finished watching this. It was spellbounding! As a professional with a Master degree in Health Sciences from Washington University in St. Read morePublished 17 months ago by GinalolaQQ