My Thoughts on the Fed Up Movie

fed-up-movie

Last night my husband and I took the girls out to dinner (it was my birthday and I didn’t want to cook) and then to the Fed Up movie. Only, me, right!? But it’s only in town for about a week and I really wanted to see it.

We decided to just take the kids and go, rather than farming them out to friends or scrounging up a babysitter. I had no idea if they would be miserable or attentive, but I figured it is probably good information and it might speak to them in a way that I can’t. Because goodness knows it’s an uphill battle over here to keep them from turning into junkfood junkies.

Well, let me tell you. They were mesmerized. My younger daughter started getting tired of it about halfway in, but my older daughter, the 11-year-old, was completely engaged throughout the entire film and it’s provided some nice talking points since.

If you’re already convinced that eating real, whole foods is the way to go, then there’s probably nothing new for you in this movie. And let’s face it, most people who are interested in seeing this movie are probably already convinced.

But it’s still a good refresher, and it was interesting to me that Katie Couric was the narrator (and also a producer.) I feel like if more mainstream people start getting on this bandwagon, there may be some hope for change.

So what can I say about this movie that you might want to know?

They chronicled the stories of several families with obese kids, which was heart breaking, but I think that’s what really spoke to my kids.

I appreciated that they didn’t seem to be blaming one political party or another. This is a bipartisan problem.

I appreciated that they pointed out that even people who are not fat can be just as unhealthy as the obese person — they showed a medical test where they can measure internal fat. I think it’s too easy to look down on those who are fat when in reality many thin people are just as unhealthy.

I appreciated that they were not blaming the fat person. (One of my biggest concerns with taking my kids to see the film was that it might make them look down on their friends and classmates who are overweight. That is The Last Thing I want to do.)

Turns out, the point of the movie was exactly the opposite. The point was that the government and the food industry are sabotaging us at every turn, and the lobbies are so powerful that even when politicians want to do the right thing, they end up kowtowing to the pressure.

Of course there is some level of personal responsibility involved, but the problem goes way beyond each individual’s ability to “just say no.” There is so much misinformation about what is truly healthy and what is not, plus the marketing industries that are targeting our children and the weakest members of society, plus the government’s subsidizing of corn which is turned into sugar that is added to just about every jar or box of food on the grocery store shelves. It’s criminal.

This definitely isn’t a feel good movie. 

At the end, I thought they were going to leave us with a morsel of encouragement, with the outcome of one of the families, but there wasn’t even that.

This is a grim situation we’re dealing with, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. (Pun intended.) I don’t think the average American realizes the financial implications of this health crisis we have on our hands.

I admit, I’ve gotten lax lately. I’ve allowed way too much crap into our house. We have teenagers, can I get an amen? 

But this is scary, folks. Unless something changes drastically with our food industry and the marketing of it to our families and children, I shudder to think where we are going to be as a culture in 20 years.

The trailer is worth a watch.

It’s a tad melodramatic, but if you think about what they are saying and ignore the dramatic undertones of the music and voice inflections, it gives a nice summary of the main themes of the film.

One statistic that shocked me: 20 (or 30? I can’t find the exact statistic) years ago there was not one documented case of Type II Diabetes in children under 18. Now there are thousands. (Can anyone help me with the correct numbers?) And it is estimated that if we keep going at our current rate, 1 in every 3 Americans will have diabetes by 2050. But here’s the crime. IT IS PREVENTABLE.

I thought the most compelling message in the movie was the comparison of junk food companies to tobacco companies. The only encouragement I was able to glean from the whole movie was that we did kick tobacco companies and their insidious advertising to the curb. If we could do it to tobacco, surely we can do it to junk food. Although I fear the problem with food is so much more pervasive.

I feel like we have to band together somehow as parents and figure out a way to make change. I don’t really know how or what. Maybe just talking about and spreading awareness is a start.

I really hope you decided to see the movie. Show it to your kids. Talk about it. And while you’re at it, watch Food, Inc. It goes into much greater detail explaining the food industry and how we came to be in this crisis.

I know some people find this entire conversation annoying and insulting, maybe you think the problem is being blown out of proportion… I really don’t get the reason why some don’t acknowledge this situation as a problem. But I agree strongly with Dr. Harvey Karpp when he says, “If a foreign nation were doing this to our children, we would defend our families.”

So why are we allowing our own nation to do this?

I’ll leave you with that to ponder.