It’s time for a revolution.
Peter and I signed up for a free trial of Netflix this weekend. We settled down to watch a horror on Saturday evening. It was a story about a group of high powered people bullying and manipulating youngsters into taking drugs, it created an epidemic and spread over the country.
Sadly, I have to admit it wasn’t a film. It was in fact a food documentary, ‘Fed Up’, where the high powered groups are food companies (McDonald, Pizza Hut, Kellogg, Kraft and Coke-Cola) and the drug they’re getting us addicted on, the substance which we’re being told is more addictive than cocaine. Sugar.
The epidemic? Obesity.
Prior to watching the film, I’d naively thought that people with obesity had a choice. A choice whether to consume the fast food, a choice to exercise more and a choice to do something about their problem. I now understand, that it really isn’t as simple as that and instead firmly believe that these people are completely helpless until junk food producers are demonised like cigarette companies were.
There are so many factors which have led to the decline in health and increase in malnutrition within the US; however, the biggest has to be the role that food industries have had in so many aspects of American life, here are a few examples:
- Food companies have funded research to quash the findings of independent studies undertaken by organisations such as the World Health Organisation, who identified that sugar was contributing to weight gain (the findings of which never reached the public). http://cip.cornell.edu/DPubS?service=UI&version=1.0&verb=Display&handle=dns.gfs/1200428197
- Following Government cuts to school kitchens, food companies jumped in to provide prepared school dinners, thus creating ‘McDonald Monday’s’, ‘Pizza Hut Tuesdays’ etc. This has not only contributed to a decline in health but also in education as to what constitutes a healthy meal. Children no longer recognise vegetables and are 3rd generation non-cookers.
- Government initiatives such as Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign which originally set out to review children’s diets has now been compromised by the involvement and backing by food companies, with the CEO of Kelloggs now involved. The campaign now concentrates on getting people to move and burn calories – failing to see that not all calories are equal! http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/02/28/1642911/big-food-lets-move/
- Food companies are now unbelievable sneaky when it comes to labels, they no longer provide the % of sugar contained in their produce on Recommended Daily Intake labels and have ensured that the public remain confused and confuzzled by the fact that sugar can be called up to 50 different names. 50 different names?! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kerry-trueman/lets-ask-marion-whats-the_b_2773967.html
Some quick facts: ⅔ of American’s over 20 are overweight. 75% of the American health bill goes on treating obesity related diseases. 3 generations of American’s now exist who have not been taught to cook or cook at home. Children’s’ life expectancy within America is to be 10years shorter than their parents.
Although Fed Up focuses on the American crisis, I was still left truly speechless and saddened by the documentary as it exposed huge household names such as Coke-Cola, that most of us living in the UK also consume. By the way, this is by no means just an American problem, Britain sadly isn’t that far behind in relation to its obesity statistics.
Forget Jurassic Park, this is a must see, one which really ought to be readily available, free to view and used to educate. If you don’t watch anything else, here’s the trailer for Fed Up.