The documentary “Fed Up” focused on the amount of sugar that is in many food products that are available on the market today. In some cases, cereals, juice drinks, and even supposedly healthy granola bars are filled with large amounts of sugar which improve the overall taste but make them unhealthy. The main issue that the documentary had with the proliferation of sugar is its connection to diabetes and obesity in adults and children when consumed in large amounts. Various statistics shown throughout the documentary correlated the rise in the number of cases of obesity and diabetes with the increase of added sugar to everyday food items such as cereals. The documentary blamed the irresponsibility of many major food production companies and the lack of action by the government as being the primary culprits behind America’s obesity epidemic.
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Consuming more calories than you burn results in the build of fat which can cause a person to become overweight and potentially obese in the long term. The same can be said about the development of diabetes which is both hereditary as well as possibly caused by the constant consumption of food that has a lot of sugar (Compernolle, 2015). However, when looking at how the documentary implicates the government and major food companies as being the primary culprit behind this apparent problem, it seems to neglect how society has changed over the past 50 years (Dadvand, 2014). With advancements in technology has come ease of living that was previously unheard of 50 years ago. Mass transit systems, the proliferation of cars, and the internet has made going to work and living life easier (Corvey, 2016). People are living more sedentary lifestyles which make them more prone to the build-up of fat in their bodies (Ball, 2015). Combined with the various methods of entertainment that can be done from the comfort of a living room or bedroom, society today is simply more inclined towards inactivity (Vilchis-Gil 2015). If you correlate this change with the convenience of being able to get whatever product you want simply by heading to the nearest supermarket or ordering it online, the proliferation of people that are overweight or have diabetes is not that surprising (Emmett & Chandra, 2015). For instance, if all people within the U.S. led a consistently physically active lifestyle that expended large amounts of calories, would the same problems of obesity and diabetes be as prevalent? It would be unlikely since most doctors recommend people to exercise more if they want to get rid of their excess weight as well as ease the symptoms of diabetes.
The problem with the documentary is that it fails to take this into account and puts the blame squarely on the shoulders of the government and private companies. It seems to selectively focus on facts instead of showing the broader story of why there is rampant obesity and diabetes in the country. Yes, excess sugar consumption is a contributing factor, but it is not the main reason. To state that private businesses and the government are the main culprits is utterly fallacious. There is also consumer choice to take into consideration; companies do not force people to buy their products, customers choose what they want to buy. Governments are limited in what they are capable of enforcing since too much interference in the free market can lead to disastrous economic consequences.
Ball, K. (2015). Traversing myths and mountains: addressing socioeconomic inequities in the promotion of nutrition and physical activity behaviours. International Journal Of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 121-7.
Compernolle, S. (2015). Do sedentary behaviors mediate associations between socio- demographic characteristics and BMI in women living in socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods?. International Journal Of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 121-9.
Corvey, K. (2016). Obesity, Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors in Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Maternal & Child Health Journal, 20(2), 466-476.
Dadvand, P. (2014). Risks and Benefits of Green Spaces for Children: A Cross- Sectional Study of Associations with Sedentary Behavior, Obesity, Asthma, and Allergy. Environmental Health Perspectives, 122(12), 1329-1335
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Emmett, D., & Chandra, A. (2015). Understanding Obesity Perceptions in America: An Exploratory Study of Public Perceptions of the Problem and Possible Actions for Health Product Marketers. Hospital Topics, 93(4), 92-98.
Vilchis-Gil, J. (2015). Food habits, physical activities and sedentary lifestyles of eutrophic and obese school children: a case-control study. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 1-8.