Movie Review: “Fed Up” Is A Fascinating But Alarming Look Into Childhood Obesity


Review by James McDonald

Upending the conventional wisdom of why we gain weight and how to lose it, Fed Up unearths a dirty secret of the American food industry-far more of us get sick from what we eat than anyone has previously realized.

Obesity in the United States has been a major health issue for decades. While many industrialized countries have experienced similar increases, obesity rates in the United States are among the highest in the world. We are all responsible for our own lives and how we live them but for those out there, who try to eat healthier and exercise more, is that really enough? Today’s kids torture themselves because their wealthy and famous role models, whether they’re pop singers or movie stars, have the financial means to look the way they do and most of these kids don’t realize that. Many of these kids starve themselves to become thin and in some cases, where bullying and peer pressure is involved, they sadly take their own lives. So what can we do about it?

Some say that the cure to obesity is energy balance, balancing calories in and calories out. In other words, simply watching what you eat and how much you eat along with daily exercise. But there are some who say it doesn’t matter how much you exercise, if you don’t eat properly, you will eventually become obese. One study claims that if a child drinks a 20oz cup of coke, technically, that child would have to bike for an hour and fifteen minutes just to burn all the calories from that cup. If that same child ate a cookie along with their coke, they’d have to jog for twenty minutes just to burn those calories away. We all know that children are energetic and playful but they also get bored very easily so the bike would probably end up on the ground after 20 minutes.

The movie follows several different kids, in age ranges from twelve years old to fifteen years old and they talk about the fact that they know they’re overweight and while they try to eat healthy and exercise daily, the kids just can’t seem to get rid of the weight. The parents chime in, saying that they can only do so much but when the kids are in school or out with friends, they’ll eat whatever they want to. This is true, to a point, because once the child is old enough to go to school by themselves and hang out with friends, the parents really don’t have much control. Society wants someone to blame but there is no one person, it’s a multitude of things and it starts with the parents informing the children to the dangers associated with obesity but of course, kids being kids, think it could never happen to them.


It’s one thing to let yourself go but if you have children, they look to you, the parent(s), to take care of them and to feed them and to always put their best interests first. Even reality TV shows these days, laugh at obesity and don’t always take it seriously. I don’t watch much reality TV but it’s hard not to be familiar with the show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”. The star of the show is Alana Thompson, a nine year-old child beauty pageant who is overweight. Her mother, June Shannon, is obese as are most of her other kids but in various episodes, you see them out at restaurants stuffing their faces and laughing and generally, having a good time and because it’s TV, the producers try to make it funny and endearing so when kids watch this at home and see this kind of behavior is condoned, they think it’s okay. Well, it’s not. Obesity is life-threatening to all of us and we all have to do our part to be healthy, not just for ourselves, but for those around us who we love.

“Fed Up” is a fascinating film that looks at a disease that can threaten all of mankind. After watching it, I came away with statistics I never even knew existed and it literally made me rethink my own eating habits. Obesity in children didn’t exist before the last thirty years or so and one study states that in 1980, there were 0 cases of Type 2 Diabetes among adolescents. In 2010, that number jumped to a reported 57,638. How in the name of God is that even possible? Within thirty years, we’ve gone from 0 to 57,638. I’m no doctor or even a food analyst but that number right there scares the hell out of me. Thanks Coke and Pepsi for all the years we’ve spent together but I’m afraid I have to move on without you, my life depends on it.

In theaters May 9th

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James McDonald
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