A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fed Up is a documentary that focuses on the harm sugar does in the body. It's chock full of statistics, historical facts and figures, research, and interviews that will teach both kids and adults about healthy eating. While there's barely anything in the way of iffy content ("damn" is used once, and plenty of brands are mentioned/shown in the discussion about diet), younger kids may find the film dense and a bit overwhelming with data -- but tweens and older will surely find meaningful take-aways, especially with help from their parents. Expect a lot of questions -- and maybe the urge to purge your pantry -- post viewing.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
For decades, America has been fighting an increasingly intractable war against obesity, but now people are FED UP. Both children and adults are gaining weight at an alarming rate, even as more Americans head to the gym and amp up their exercise. Diets of all stripes have come and gone, but the weight piles on. What's the culprit, and how long has it been lurking in our diet? How did the country get to this point? This documentary, from the producer of An Inconvenient Truth and narrated (and co-produced) by Katie Couric, examines the role that sugar plays in the obesity epidemic and exhorts viewers to ask questions and make significant changes that could make a difference in their health and future.
Is it any good?
If documentaries were judged solely on whether they break new ground in the genre, this would fall short. Like an A student intent on meeting all the requirements for an A paper, it's straightforward, hardworking, and ultimately unimaginative. But style alone doesn't make a great documentary, substance does, and on that count Fed Up absolutely delivers. It persuades with engrossing interviews and plainly laid out information that drives home clearly and convincingly its thesis: that the United States has its eye on the wrong ball in its fight for obesity. Sugar is the culprit, the film claims, and tons of it is coursing through the veins of Americans, who are unaware that it's in nearly everything they eat: cereal, yogurt, granola bars, fast food, frozen food, canned food, and much more.
The film works by relying on reputable scientists and researchers to bolster hard science -- all without condescending to viewers. It's unafraid to critique established experts, including the government itself and First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" program. That fearlessness lends urgency to the situation, as do the profiles of children struggling with their weight and yearning for an answer, a clear answer, that will place them on the right path. They're fed up, and, after seeing this, viewers may get there, too.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Fed Up's premise. Do you agree that most Americans have too much sugar in our diets? What's to blame? What can we do about it?
What do you think about the film's position that our culture has overemphasized exercise while not putting enough scrutiny on our daily food intake? Are both diet and exercise important in staying healthy? Can you do one and ignore the other?
Is obesity the biggest public health problem we're facing in the United States? Does the movie clearly trace how we got here? What makes the film persuasive?
- In theaters: May 9, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: September 9, 2014
- Cast: Katie Couric
- Director: Stephanie Soechtig
- Studio: Radius TWC
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Science and Nature
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements including smoking images, and brief mild language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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