Does McDonald's Make Us Fat?

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    12-Nov-2014

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A lecture drawing on social psychological and cultural studies perspectives to dissect the debate over whether obesity in American society is the fault of the consumer or the provider. Concludes with reminder that eating is a moral act and call for celebration of forms of food production that remind us of the moral dimension of eating.

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<p>?Does McDonalds Make Us Fat?How a Consumer Society Shapes Individual Choice</p> <p>Steve Zavestoski smzavestoski@usfca.edu</p> <p>University of San Francisco Department of Sociology</p> <p>The New Cultural Debate...Who is responsible for the obesity epidemic? The Fast Food Industry </p> <p>McDonald's spends over $2 billion a year broadcasting their glossy image to the world. This is a small space for alternatives to be heard..</p> <p>The New Cultural Debate... Or the consumer?Don't blame the burger, East Bay lawmaker saysBill would curb lawsuits against eateries for weight gain "One or two restaurants should not be liable simply because people gain weight over time," the lawmaker says. "Consumers must be responsible for their own personal decisions and eating habits. Frivolous personal injury lawsuits against restaurants are not the way to promote healthy living.Oakland Tribune, March 7, 2005</p> <p>Governor Signs Commonsense Consumption Bill</p> <p>SPRINGFIELD Illinois citizens who abuse fast food and other snacks will not be allowed to sue food companies for making them fat, under House 3981, the Illinois Commonsense Consumption Act. The law prohibits civil lawsuits in state court by individuals who abuse a food product then seek damages based on a claim of injury resulting from weight gain, obesity, or any related health condition.http://www.kdillard.com/PR1.htm (IL State Sen. Kirk Dillards website)</p> <p>Governor enacts ban on suits linking obesity to fast foodColoradoGov. Bill Owens on Monday signed into law a bill prohibiting obese people from suing fast-food companies for causing them to be overweight. The governor said a proper diet is a matter of personal responsibility.Ofce of the Governor Press Release, May 18, 2004</p> <p>Who is winning?= law enacted = bill pending = bill dead OBESITY LAWSUITS 26 States with obesitylawsuit bills led or preled 18 states that have enacted obesity-lawsuit bansNational Restaurant Association: http://www.restaurant.org/</p> <p>Does the industry care?</p> <p>Of Course...</p> <p>The Sociological Imagination An ability to perceive the intersections of history and biography so that human lives are seen as being shaped by historically conditioned social forces Personal troubles vs. public issues (e.g., homelessness, divorce, alcoholism)(C. Wright Mills)</p> <p>Is there an obesity epidemic? Centers for Disease Control: In 1991, four states had obesity prevalence rates of 15-19 percent and no states had rates at or above 20 percent. In 2003, 15 states had prevalence rates of 15-19 percent; 31 states had rates of 20-24 percent; and 4 states had rates more than 25 percent. What would Mills say Personal Trouble or Public Issue (Social Problem)?</p> <p>Obesity Trends* Among U.S. Adults1985(*BMI 30, or ~ 30 lbs overweight for 5 4 person)</p> <p>No Data</p>