I just finished watching the movie FED UP! and I am so disappointed. It was about the same old issues: government cover-ups, misleading manufacturing labeling intended to blindside Americans, and the constant bombardment of subliminal commercials that make you want to order a deluxe pizza in the middle of the night when you are not even close to being hungry.
I guess Katie Couric’s heart was in the right place with regard to trying to educate people about greedy corporations, bogus health studies, and mass marketing, but it sounded like she was placing blame rather than informing viewers of the issues. Place the blame on whomever you please, but the choice still belongs to the consumer.
What I got out of the film is this: greedy corporations dictate what Americans eat—Americans have no control over what they eat and they have no other choice but to eat processed food.
For example: one case study was of a girl who was quite down and depressed because of her weight. It went on to show the menu in the cafeteria where she attended school. Apparently, there were no healthy options but cheeseburgers, pizza, nachos, etcetera. What I did not understand was this: she wanted to lose weight, but there was nothing close to resembling fruits and vegetables or anything healthy at school, and she knew what she was eating was contributing to her weight gain, yet she continued to eat from the cafeteria rather than packing a healthy lunch at home to bring to school. She made the choice to eat the bad foods rather than packing a decent lunch. At one point it showed her eating Nutella. I remember the law suit back in 2012 where a California woman sued Nutella because of its false health claims. The poor girl’s mother, who was also obese, thought that cereal was a food.
There was a cafeteria worker that stated there was a healthy choice on the menu, and only 25/350 students chose it. She said that they would rather eat pizza, nachos, and cookies. “We cannot choose for them.” she said.
Another case study followed a boy who was obese, wanted to lose weight, but ate foods that packed on the weight. Then, he was educated on healthy foods, lost weight, but gained it all back down the road.
There was one mother who was just watching her child wolf down a full bag of chips. In most families the mother does the grocery shopping, so she bought the chips knowing that he would eat a full bag, contributing to his obesity and obesity-related diseases that he would develop later on as a result. When she asked him what he had for lunch he told her hamburger, fries, milk and juice. Perhaps she should have taken away those chips, or, at the very least, given him the actual serving size.
Another boy, knew he was eating fattening foods, wanted to stop, but could not because those foods that made him fat were all around him. His parents bought the processed, sugary, fattening foods that contributed to his obesity.
One mother said that it was cheaper to buy processed foods. Let’s see, $9.99 for a whole chicken to feed four, $1.99 for a head of lettuce, $2.99 for a few sweet potatoes, and $2.79 for a loaf of whole grain bread—that’s $17.76. Anywhere you go these days to get take-out you are going to pay between $10 to $12 dollars for a meal per person, so it’s not cheaper, it’s just more convenient—you do not have to do the work to get it on the table and you do not have dishes to clean up afterwards.
Another mother said that being big is being beautiful. And her husband went on to say that he had no control over what his son ate. Both were obese.
The parent speakers on the show were not overly concerned about the weight of their children. Nor were they concerned about the diseases related to their obesity because they themselves were obese.
One mother took her son to the doctor claiming that he was better when in fact he had gained more weight and showed adult signs of metabolic syndrome.
There were speakers stating that processed food is plain poison and it leads to liver disease, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cancer. They talked about sugar and how it is more addictive that cocaine.
This movie reiterated everything that we already know about processed food. It is junk, leads to disease, and will eventually kill you. Tell us something we don’t know.
What was really interesting in this movie was a quick shot of one lady saying that healthy eating starts at home with the parents—my feeling exactly. The film was quick to blame manufacturers for the problem of obesity, but no part of the film points the finger at the parents. Children need to be educated and taught to live a healthy life, but in this film, it’s the parents who need educating. And parents are adults and adults are not likely to change. Personally, I think that’s a big part of it. You cannot expect a child to eat healthy if the parents do not.
What is even more amusing is that at the end of the film, they begin to blame environmental causes for obesity.