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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Viewers learn about how type 2 diabetes affects kids and makes it difficult for them to do things such as participate in sports. The emotional and physical toll of being an obese kid is clear. Food addiction is explained as similar to drug addiction -- and it's explained that options exist to help overcome that addiction.
Themes include compassion and perseverance. Promotes parental involvement in kids' diet and exercise habits and in getting kids to move more and eat less. Statistics about lower-income kids and diabetes are staggering and make it clear that childhood obesity is a wide-ranging disease that causes not only health issues but emotional and psychological problems. Also makes it obvious why it's wrong to ridicule or tease obese children.
Positive Role Models
Several of the parents are incredibly involved and sympathetic when it comes to helping their children lose weight. Others initially seem insensitive but eventually change their ways -- including their own behavior and eating/cooking habits. The kids recognize they need to eat less and move more to be healthier, but they also recognize and acknowledge how tough their situation feels.
Violence & Scariness
A girl recalls bullying, constant teasing, and how even friends said they were embarrassed to be seen with her. A boy says people bully and are mean to him, and he almost wants to get in a fight with them. A father has a heart attack. An adult shares that, as an overweight teen, she suffered from depression and attempted suicide several times. Other references to teasing and name-calling.
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Kids say they've been called "big blob," "big a--," "fat a--," "fatness," "fat whale," "cow," "cheeseburger," and so on. A father matter-of-factly calls his son a "fat little pig," a "couch potato," and "lazy."
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Products & Purchases
Because it's a documentary, there are some brands visible in the film, though they're not there through paid product placement. Businesses, logos, and products include The Fudgery (at Disney World), Starbucks, Jeep, Nintendo, Goya, Organic Valley, Juicy Juice, Mountain Dew, Cheetos, Buzz Lightyear, Jell-O, Coca-Cola, and so on.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bite Size is a thought-provoking, occasionally heartbreaking documentary about the way childhood obesity affects individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. The film follows four kids from different parts of the country who are all struggling with obesity. They may have different backgrounds, but they share a constant battle with their weight, health, and body image -- not to mention bullying from cruel peers (or, in one case, an insensitive parent). There's occasional insult language ("fat pig," "fatass," "lazy," "couch potato"), and the kids all recall times when they were teased, embarrassed, or provoked by classmates and even supposed friends. One boy gets in a fight with someone who calls him a name at football camp. It's emotionally intense, but even older elementary school-age kids will be able to handle this documentary and discuss the importance of healthy living via diet and exercise -- as well as being sympathetic to overweight peers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This documentary is important because it will teach healthy kids how difficult obese kids have it -- and how damaging cruel words can be. Filmmaker Corbin Billings takes an intimate approach to a familiar topic. He doesn't bombard the audience with statistics but instead focuses on the kids and their parents and communities -- making the issue come to life in an authentic and at times heartbreaking way. It's maddening but not surprising that these four kids have all dealt with bullying and teasing. Emily admits that even supposed friends told her they were embarrassed to be seen with her. And Moy has to deal with a dad who thinks he's well-meaning but who doesn't model good behavior (he loves junk food) and who has a penchant for criticizing and shaming his son. Moy's father (who later struggles with his own health issues) clearly represents how tough it is for obese kids to feel supported and understood. One of the sweetest people in the movie is KeAnna's counselor, Lisa, who works tirelessly to teach a group of overweight girls about making better food choices, moving their bodies, and learning to love themselves at any size.
Bite Size also shows how parents of obese kids need to rise to the occasion and encourage, not criticize, their children. This may not always be an easy-to-watch documentary (as when a woman confesses to teens that, as an obese adolescent, she attempted suicide, or when Emily desperately tries to understand why she can't sate her hunger), but it's worth watching with your tweens and teens. More information is available at the film's official site.
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