Eating as much as an elephant eats.
What are you at, getting terribly fat?
What do you think will come of that?
I don't like the look of it."
In comes this Stock Aesop, which does its damnedest to demonize too much junk food and glorifies exercise. Generally, it involves one or more characters getting hooked on some sort of junk food, making their health deteriorate badly and expanding their waistline. Usually, the rest of the group (if it's one person addicted) or the sole outlier (if the whole group's addicted) will have to get things back to normal.
This won't stop the writers from having the protagonists eating more junk food in the next episode, though. After all, Status Quo Is God.
These morals tend to get heavy-handed which, combined with their increasing frequency since the Turn of the Millennium, can quickly make them the bane of viewers. In all fairness, though, many children in developed countries have been getting heavier to the point of obesity in recent years (as have many adults, for that matter), so obviously the higher-ups want to tell people about it.
One scary if somewhat silly way to present this aesop that sometimes shows up in horror, sci-fi and fantasy works is to show that fatter humans are more desirable prey for people-eating monsters and aliens. It moves the aesop into much darker territory, but the message can easily get lost because being eaten by a Martian isn't likely to happen to any audience member.
Contrast Balloon Belly and Fat Comic Relief (which are about fat people Played for Laughs) and Acrofatic (which is about fat people that can achieve impressive physical feats despite their weight). Also contrast Be Yourself if a character slimming down has a negative effect on their character or they're not doing so except to please someone who otherwise would value them less. See also Diet Episode.
- Kirby of the Stars has an episode entitled "Fitness Fiend", which has Dedede obtaining potato chips designed to be very addictive and to cause the consumer to increase in size by a great deal. Unfortunately, he ends up falling victim to their effect, along with Kirby, forcing him and Kirby to lose the weight with the monster Max Flexer (granted, that was their original goal, minus Dedede also being forced to).
- Pokémon has a Diet Episode in which a trainer's Chespin spends almost all its screen-time eating, mostly behind his back. Consequently, the Chespin gains so much weight that it can't put up a fight.
- Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt has "The Diet Syndrome", where after eating endless sweets to her heart's content without fear of gaining weight, Stocking goes on a diet and exercise frenzy when she finds she's gotten heavier. After becoming inhumanly obese, Stocking discovers that her desserts have been tainted by the powers of a ghost, and only returns to her normal self after the ghost is destroyed. Stocking then returns to her sweets, choosing not to sweat over a little extra weight.
- WALL•E can be interpreted to have one of these, though the filmmakers claim it was accidental and the real Aesop is more of a warning against over-consumerism.
- In Osmosis Jones, Frank is shown as having a very unhealthy lifestyle despite the constant urging of his daughter to shape up. He finally begins to take his health seriously after a brush with death.
- The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food is Exactly What It Says on the Tin – all the Bears save Mama end up eating too much junk food, and it takes a visit to the doctor to Scare 'em Straight. Ironically, some people have noted that said junk food is highly colorful and delectable.
- Augustus Gloop, of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, may count, thanks to his unfavorable portrayal.
- The Goosebumps novel Attack of the Jack-O'Lanterns presents this in Space Whale Aesop format. Near the end the man-eating aliens warn the kids not to eat too much candy, or they'll end up as dessert some day.
- Used in a throwaway scene in Stargate SG-1 season 6. As the season begins, alien refugee Jonas Quinn is shown eating in nearly every scene at the SGC. He later mentions to Carter that he's really gotten into this "traditional all-American food". Carter points out to him that America has another tradition: hardened arteries. This aspect of Jonas' character was quietly dropped after that.
- In an episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Tommy lectures a student of his about healthy eating. This inspires Rita to shrink down the Monster of the Week and literally gets it inside Tommy's stomach — causing Tommy to constantly crave junk food to a ridiculous extreme, even stealing food off of other people's tables.
- That's So Raven has an episode called "Food for Thought", in which Raven's school becomes a food court full of junk food (which is at least partly Truth in Television, sadly) and Raven and Chelsea try to stop it.
Raven: Put down the pies! Do not maximize! You got to exercise, or the scale will rise and so will your thighs!
Eddie: Now who wants some fries?
- Robin and Barney's relationship in How I Met Your Mother has shades of this at one point, though it's mostly about how the relationship is making them unhealthy than it is about how junk food and/or fatty foods are bad for you.
- Consumption of high fructose corn syrup and burgers in "How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters" are shown to have supernaturally bad consequences: we'll all become cattle to extradimensional primordial monsters!
- Discussed in "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here". This is the first time Death appears in an episode without eating junk food. In "Two Minutes to Midnight" (S05, Ep21), he eats Chicago style pizza. In "Appointment In Samarra" (S06, Ep11), Death eats a bacon dog. In "Meet The New Boss" (S07, Ep01), he eats pickle chips. Death's association with junk food is still referenced when Ezekiel as Dean mentions that he would have brought cronuts, but didn't have the time.
- Some younger teenage tropers may remember watching LazyTown as a kid, a show BASED on this trope.
- Arthur Gets Fit is about Arthur freaking out over becoming "husky" (despite not looking any fatter than usual).
- The Fairly OddParents! had the episode "Just Desserts!" in which Timmy wishes that it was dessert all the time. By day 28 of the wish everyone is severely obese and gets to the point of rolling around. The extra weight causes the Earth to tilt on its axis and spin towards the sun. Somehow.
- JoJo's Circus has characters called the Spudinskis who were anthropomorphic potatoes. In one installment, they became literal couch potatoes, stuck to their couch, and had to be encouraged to exercise.
- Executive Meddling forced this upon the writers of Kim Possible, and that's how we got "Grande Size Me" (complete with not so subtle Lampshade Hanging).
- The Germ of the Week on one episode of Ozzy and Drix kidnapped fat cells to Hector's heart to try and give him a heart attack. Hector throws a Spanner in the Works when he goes for a run.
- American Dragon: Jake Long features an episode with a B-plot about Jake becoming lazy and complacent during a period of little magical activity. He quickly begins gorging on junk food and ends up becoming extremely overweight, to the point that even the villains are commenting on his much larger size.
- Doug did this twice.
- The first time, in the original Nickelodeon run, Doug spends a week at his grandma's and comes back noticeably heavier. He works hard over the next few weeks to lose the weight, and succeeds, but is depressed because he still looks pudgy. He is somewhat reassured when Judy reminds him that he's always had a pudge.
- One episode of the Disney run was a Very Special Episode where Patty becomes terrified of this happening to her (to the point that she envisions "fat monsters" chasing girls down the running track and fatifying any girl they catch), and starts to develop anorexia. Her friends are able to snap her out of it before she gets too bad.
- An early example occurs in The New Adventures of Batman episode "A Sweet Joke on Gotham" where Robin goes undercover to infiltrate Sweet Tooth's gang of teenagers. A plot point is made of how unfit and ill he becomes from living on Sweet Tooth's diet of sweets.
- "The Greedy" from Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure. But, of course, he lives at the bottom of a dark pit and is actually made of desserts, so what else is he supposed to eat?
- Subverted in an episode of Home Movies in which Brandon and Jason become overweight from overindulgence in junk food and decide they've become "fat enablers"; when they're apart they drop the weight just fine, but when they spend time together they revert to their old overindulging ways. Subverted because at the end of the episode they decide that their friendship is more important to them than their weight, they rope Melissa into joining them to become morbidly obese, and they make a series of movie parodies like "Fat Club." Then they're back to normal in the next episode.
- Defied in an episode of Super Mario World. King Koopa opens a fast food restaurant and the cave people become hooked on their food. Only Mario, Luigi and Yoshi are shown to have gained weight, then the episode turns into a Space Whale Aesop where the victims of Koopa's food turn into Chickadactyls.
- "Grande Size Me" from Kim Possible is a pretty blatant case of this, in which Ron goes on a diet comprised exclusively of food from the Bueno Nacho to prove they are not unhealthy even as Kim tries to talk sense into him. After being exposed to a sinister weight gain formula, Ron mutates into an obese Hulk-esque monster who Kim can only defeat by feeding healthy foods.
- The Boondocks episode "The Itis" is about Ed Wuncler I helping Robert Freeman with starting a new restaurant called The Itis. The Itis, which serves extremely unhealthy soul food, causes the surrounding neighborhood to turn into a slum plagued by obesity, poverty, and crime.
- The Simpsons:
- One episode has the town declared as the fattest town in America. This greatly concerns Marge and she manages to convince other people to enforce a ban on sugar so that everyone can start eating healthier. Naturally, people resist to the point of smuggling sugar prohibition style. Status Quo Is God kicks in at the end where Marge eventually gives up and lets people indulge in their sugar cravings.
- Zig-zagged in one episode where Homer purposely gains weight to the point of weighing over 300 pounds because it would make him legally disabled, thus he can work from home and never have to physically go to work. A moment later, he gets a warning from the power plant that there will be a meltdown if the problem is not taken care of right now. Homer races to the source and winds up plugging up the hole with his enlarged rear, which somehow stops the threat. Homer realizes that if he had not gained weight, he would have fallen to his death. Homer then decides he has to lose weight so Marge would not be turned off by his body anymore. Mr. Burns tries to get Homer to exercise, but gives up after seeing Homer is too fat to do a proper sit up and decides to just get him liposuction.
- 6teen: In "Girlie Boys", Caitlin learns the hard way to never eat too much chocolate before trying on jeans.