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This Month's Issue

Fed Up
Friday, May 9, 2014

Studio: E1 Films

Reviewed by: Ed Coke

These days serious health concerns among American youth is a blazingly hot topic throughout the world of talk shows and government policy pundits. So, it should come as no surprise that the new feature-length documentary Fed Up, which focuses on the issue of the child obesity epidemic in the United States, is produced and narrated by Katie Couric.

A veteran TV journalist and New York times bestselling author with over 30 years broadcasting experience working for the big 3 networks (CBS, NBC and now ABC), Couric is certainly no stranger to promoting the public awareness of health concerns. From undergoing a televised colonoscopy after her husband succumbed to colon cancer, to becoming a spokesperson for Parkinson's following her father's death from the disease, she has always been vocal about shedding light on such serious conditions.

Fed Up was written, produced and directed by Stephanie Soechtig, a fellow ABC alumni, who previously released a successful 2009 documentary titled Tapped, which looked at another recently in vogue topic - the waste and dangers of bottled water. Also behind the curtain is Larry David's ex-Laurie, who released an even bigger doc hit with the Academy award winning An Inconvenient Truth.

As a whole, this new expose on how big business and the US government essentially tricked and polluted the bodies and minds of the vulnerable youth with excessive sugar and unhealthy foods, does its job. Nothing really groundbreaking here in my opinion, as it was no secret that America has the most overweight children in the world (although Mexico has supposedly taken the torch as of last year as the fattest country in the world), and perhaps unnecessary to watch on the big screen, but nonetheless important. The film has received criticism for picking and choosing it's targets; throwing shade on first lady Michelle Obama's initiatives for example. However, it's certainly a big enough problem for everyone to get a heapin' slice of the pie.

While I remember my youth as one filled with massive Slurpees loaded with gummy worms and coke bottles, king-sized Snickers for lunch, and Captain Crunch for breakfast, somehow I never became obese or developed diabetes. It could be that I was active enough with sports and chasing tail to burn off the calories, had a naturally overactive metabolism, or the fat-burning properties of certain cannabinoids helped. Hard to say, but Fed Up does help to highlight that what is in the majority of processed foods is pretty messed up. While people have the choice to read the ingredients and choose to do the right thing, often they don't because of financial and intellectual limitations that leave them at the mercy of the massively shameless profiteering that plagues the food industry. Interestingly, there was another documentary called Fed Up from back in 2002 that tackled the problem of GMO food and its impact on both the environment and public health, a closely related and possibly even more dangerous threat perpetrated by corporate greed.

I personally feel that the lack of exercise due to excessive television watching, gaming, and physical eduation class not being mandatory any more, is a huge part of the problem.

At least back in the days for gaming you went to the arcade for hours and you were standing, and instead of having vending machines in the school halls, you had to walk up the block to 7-11 to get your candy fix. However, there's no way to get the iPad out of a generation of toddler's hands it seems, so aside from forcing kids to burn fat in sports, there definitely needs to be more regulation surrounding what people eat and Fed Up effectively helps bring attention to the cause.

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