You Are What You Eat
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this British series promotes healthy exercise and nutrition habits. The holistic nutritionist host rarely minces words when she critiques subjects' dietary downfalls, but although her approach may seem harsh, it's soon obvious that her intentions are good. Tweens probably won't be too interested in this reality-type show, but if they do tune in, make a point of commending the subjects for their efforts to improve their health (especially when they're posing in their underwear for "before" shots, which might prompt giggles from kids who don't know the context).
What's the story?
In the British lifestyle reality series YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT, overweight people turn to holistic nutritionist Dr. Gillian McKeith for inspiration and guidance in their efforts to kick unhealthy nutrition and exercise habits. In each episode, McKeith reviews the subject's general health history (heart attacks, diabetes, etc.), current eating tendencies, and activity level. She tallies calories, sugar grams, and total saturated fat for extra inspiration, confronting the person with astounding figures of overindulgence and reminding them of the health risks this poses (including high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer). She presents them with strict meal plans and exercise routines for the next eight weeks. After a series of brief updates, the show culminates in a grand unveiling of the subject's new appearance, complete with details on total weight and inches lost. They comment on how the changes have affected their lives and their outlook, and McKeith gets the last word on how well they followed through with her advice.
Is it any good?
For the subjects, McKeith's information is a staggering dose of reality; some dissolve into tears when they're faced with their own shortcomings. In one episode, she analyzes (although just how closely she doesn't say...) her subject's bodily waste for more complete insights. The deadpan nutritionist isn't affected by the man's discomfort at hearing that his bowel movements are looser, more frequent, or, yes, even more odiferous than those of people with a well-rounded diet.
Bathroom talk aside, You Are What You Eat isn't likely to appeal to tweens. But if they do tune in, follow up with gentle reminders not to poke fun at people's appearances -- even to inspire change, as McKeith is sometimes known to do.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the media's role in promoting a healthy lifestyle. How does the media affect what people choose to eat? Is it the media's responsibility to make sure people see only healthy foods and activities? Do you think someone should be in charge of which foods can be marketed to kids? If so, who? Families can also discuss the general importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. How does poor diet and lack of exercise affect your physical well-being? What are some of the health risks that they pose? How would you describe your own health and lifestyle habits?