Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of mortality around the world. The disease affects people of all ages, even of different ethnic groups. This paper focuses on the effectiveness of independent films particularly documentaries in educating the public and thus, helping reduce obesity, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
The researcher intends to present the documentaries “Super Size Me” (2004) to 20 medically proven obese individuals. After the film showing, the respondents will then be provided questionnaires about the documentary’s effect on them.
The American Heart Association states that coronary heart disease has caused 425,425 deaths in 2006 and that it is the leading cause of death in America today. This disease could include conditions such as coronary heart disease as well as stroke. Uncontrollable risk factors contributory to cardiovascular disease include age, gender and heredity or race (American Heart Association). Controllable risk factors include tobacco use, alcohol use, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets (World Heart Federation).
Scope and Delimitations
The coverage of this study is with 20 obese participants who have not viewed the film before. They will be asked to view the film and will be engaged in a discussion after the film showing. The results of the study will be based on observations on their eating habits before and after the film showing as well as their own testimonies on the experiment. The study’s duration will cover two months and a follow-up after another month to ensure the lasting effect of the documentary.
Review of Related Literature
Basing from the statistics compiled by the American Heart Association, “an estimated 71,600,000 U.S. adults (age 20 and older) were obese.” Looking at these statistics, it can therefore be said that of the 66.3 percent of overweight or obese individuals in the population, almost 50 percent are obese.
By 2015, “approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese” (American Heart Association). This projection is realistic due to the developing shift in diet towards commercial or fast foods as well as a shift to sedentary lifestyle due to urbanization.
Independent Films as Health Promotion Strategies
Independent filmmakers raised their concerns toward this health problem by creating films that tackle this condition. “Super Size Me”, an experimental documentary on the effects of eating fast food, became an international sensation in the film industry. It was acclaimed by different film awarding institutions such as the Sundance Film Festival (Lambert, 2004).
The inspiration for the movie came from a publicized legal battle wherein “two girls in New York were suing McDonald’s because they claimed, the food made them overweight and sick.” (Braiker, 2004)
The study intends to investigate the efficacy of the documentary “Super Size Me” in helping reduce obesity as a health promotion strategy against cardiovascular disease. Since this study will rely on observations and questionnaires, the descriptive method will be used. The disadvantage of the method is that the study relies on personal opinion and judgment (Shuttleworth, 2008) so the results may be open to threats against the internal validity of data garnered.
The study is relevant in that, it will be able to provide an insight as to how such media strategies influence an individual’s point of view and will also provide steps that can be undertaken in order to leave a deeper impression on the individual involved.