What are we feeding our kids?
That's the question at the heart of "Fed Up," a new documentary from producers Katie Couric, Laurie David ("An Inconvenient Truth"), and Regina Scully ("The Invisible War"). Director Stephanie Soechtig followed American families to see how their eating habits affected their health and well-being over the course of two years. And what they found was that children in particular are consuming far too much sugar for their own good.
This alternative poster for the film uses the eye-catching image of a baby downing a soda to illustrate a very real problem with American diets. According to the makers of "Fed Up," the American Heart Association recommends a daily allowance of 6-9 teaspoons of added sugar, but a typical 20-ounce bottle of soda contains 16 teaspoons of high fructose corn syrup, more than 2.5 times as much. Nearly 80 percent of foods at grocery stores have added sugar in one form or another, and as a result Americans have doubled their intake of sugar in the past three decades.
But it's not just the foods that are available to kids which create problems. How kids are exposed to advertising affects their consumption habits as well. Studies have shown that when children watch TV programs with food advertisements, they will actually eat more snacks than when viewing shows without commercials. And in just the past few years the number of ads for junk foods that kids see on a daily basis has radically increased with increased exposure to online promotions.
"Fed Up" examines both the business interests which have created this growing health threat and what is being done to stem the tide of obesity and illness that has resulted from it. As Couric said, "I hope those who watch this film will see how we are being brainwashed at an early age by the food industry and the power of that lobby to prevent our legislators from making any meaningful changes. And I hope people will get mad and demand change."
"Fed Up" will be in theaters on May 9.