Recently, I watched the movie "Fed Up", a powerful documentary that explains why obesity is occurring at such an alarming rate among American children. It really opened my eyes on how obesity has become such an epidemic and that it is not so simple as cutting back on calories to lose weight.
There were so many points in the movie that caught my attention. For example, I found it alarming how there were no children with Type II diabetes in 1980, and thirty years later, there are over 50,000 kids with the disease. This can be blamed on all the processed food and sodas that the kids so often consume. The movie compared the soda industry to the tobacco industry, saying that soda is the tobacco of the 21st century. The companies that make the sodas and processed foods lobby Washington and spend billions of dollars on advertising, with many of the ads appealing to children.
The movie focused on a few kids that were obese. The poor kids were trying to lose weight but just could not, despite cutting their calories and exercise. The reason… consuming too many processed foods with hidden sugars and chemicals in them. No matter how much exercise they did or how many calories they cut, they continuously ate foods that caused them to not lose weight.
The film also discussed how there's very little healthy foods to choose from in school cafeterias. Many schools partner with Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, McDonald's and the like, to offer lunch at schools. I don't remember any fast food restaurants coming to school when I was a student. but we did have the highly processed foods. I remember Hostess Apple Pies, overly processed frozen pizzas, hot dogs, etc. I don't remember seeing vegetables, although I didn't look for them back then either.
I'm not sure if kids today have access to soda at lunch, but when I was in school, they had a soda machine without soda in it. Instead, the machines had cans of Hawaiian Punch! These cans probably had more sugar than the sodas, so I don't understand the logic. Maybe it's the same logic the lobbyists used when saying that tomato paste counts as a vegetable in order to keep the pizza on the menu in schools!
I found the movie very sad, especially the part when one kid had to undergo surgery in order to lose weight. I don't think anybody, let alone a child, should have to go through such a procedure. I know it's sometimes necessary if someone is severely obese and all other options have been exhausted. I don't understand why the doctor couldn't put the kid on a diet that has no processed foods whatsoever and see if it would make a difference.
The other part of the movie that interested me: they examined how obese people aren't the only ones fat, as confusing as that may sound. Many people that are eating the processed foods are walking around with the dangerous visceral fat and don't even realize it. This explains why some people can eat junk food and not appear to get fat while others do. The fat is still stored on the inside, even if it don't show on the outside.
When you watch this movie, you'll begin to see how dangerous processed food really is. You'll also see how billions of dollars are at stake and processed food companies don't want to give up their market share. I'm hoping that the movie will get people to talk about ways to improve the food industry so that the obesity rate can go down instead of continually rising. Think of the money we can save on healthcare if more people were to eat more fresh vegetable and produce and less processed foods and soda.