Saturday, May 17, 2014

Movie Review: Fed Up

*This review was first posted in February during coverage of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. 



Much has been said about America's obesity epidemic: from the rising rates of obesity and diabetes among children to the growing health-care costs related to our swelling waistlines. Even First Lady Michelle Obama, with her Let's Move campaign that encourages children to stay active, has contributed to a national conversation on the need for diet, exercise and the passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which had the audacity to try to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables during school lunch (the horror!).

But the argument that 'Fed Up' makes is that our national focus on fitness and calorie balance fails to address the elephant in the room; namely, the food industry that increasingly pitches high-sugar processed foods and a national diet that sets individuals up for failure.

Produced and narrated by Katie Couric, Fed Up makes a number of well-articulated and at times alarming points. It describes the biological science, the historical events and the private industry motivations that have combined into a sinister cocktail. It lambasts the "diet food" market, which shaves off marginal amounts of calories while maintaining the same – if not higher – sugar levels of their traditional counterparts. And it points a big, accusatory finger at soft drinks, labeling them as the cigarettes of the 21st century and suggesting that a warning label from the surgeon general on a bottle of Coke may be a necessary first step in demonizing the junk food industry.

Informative and empowering, Fed Up is the kind of documentary that sends you home considering what you've seen and checking the nutritional labels on your groceries.

Grade: A-

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