Fed Up, which was a winner at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and tipped to be ‘The Inconvenient Truth of the health industry’, certainly opens your eyes as to the true extent of what an impact the obesity epidemic is having on the average US citizen.
Although an American film with American statistics, the sad fact is that the truth isn’t too far what is also happening here in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Opening with the shocking fact that more people will die from obesity than starvation, the obesity epidemic has brought with it a host of ‘solutions’. However, Fed Up explores whether these solutions are in fact making things worse.
Focusing on three adolescents from 12-15 years old, none of whom are under 210lbs (95.2kgs), the movie highlights what the past thirty years has done to contribute to such a sad state. Sadder still that these three are by no means exceptions, but now the majority of young people in the USA.
All three children have overweight parents, who are time and cash poor. They simply don’t know any better. One mother says to the camera that she doesn’t want her 215lb son to be obsessed with weight and to focus on more important things. The heartbreaking part is that you can’t focus on ‘more important things’ if you’re no longer alive.
Striving to care for their kids by buying ‘healthier’ choices; breakfast cereals, ‘lean’ versions of their favourite full-fat treats, diet soda, and non-fat or reduced fat products at every turn, the bewilderment that their weight doesn’t budge shows big food companies have a lot to answer for.
Commentary comes from a host of familiar names in the health world. Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Gary Taubes, and Mark Hyman. Even former President, Bill Clinton, who lost considerable weight following a health scare in 2010 pops up to discuss how a vegan diet helped him reverse heart disease.
Debunking the myths that ‘Eating Less and Exercising More’ and that ‘Calories in = Calories Out’, proof being that despite the multi-million dollar industry of diet, health and fitness, waist lines continue to increase. As do diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, liver disease and high blood pressure. Illnesses that were once reserved for overweight, middle-aged men but now don’t discriminate against young children as young as eight.
The shocking realisation is how intertwined the government is in colluding with these big food businesses and a prevalence of private profit over public health. Creating a vicious cycle of hooking people more on the very food it’s advising bodies are telling you to cut down or avoid.
Subsidising the very foods that are at the root cause of the issue (dairy, beef and corn). Corn in particular, since the invention of high fructose corn syrup i.e. SUGAR, finding its way into 80% of food consumed. Scientifically proven to be eight times more addictive than cocaine, it’s clear that food addiction is rife and has a majority of the world’s population in its grip, where personal responsibility or will power simply can’t win.
We've Got To Fight (For Our Right)
Echoes of the 1990’s when the public took on the tobacco companies, one can only hope that in years to come a similar fate will befall the big food companies who are increasingly coming up short on every level of nutritional density and honest information beyond marketing spin.
The final message is one of hope, with high profile activists who aren’t afraid to take on the David and Goliath fight. Jamie Oliver's inspiring a new generation and educating both kids and their parents that we have to change the way we consume and what we are putting in our bodies.
The resounding rally cry though is to truly win is by being fully informed and taking action – and that includes choosing what goes on the end of your fork at every meal-time.
Fed Up is well worth your time.