POPSUGAR Celebrity

The Tragic Reason Our Generation Is Likely to Live Longer Than Our Kids

May 6 2014 - 12:08pm

Fed Up isn't the first documentary about our nation's food crisis, but it is likely to be the most impactful. With the backing of Katie Couric (who conceptualized and narrates the film) and Laurie David (who produced the Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth), Fed Up takes a no-holds-barred approach to addressing how the food industry is causing rates of childhood obesity and disease to skyrocket.

"I've been in the news business for 35 years, and I noticed that as time went by, I was covering more and more stories about childhood obesity. But they were always snapshots of information — the latest study, the newest shocking statistic. I felt frustrated that no one was taking a truly comprehensive look at the problem — what was causing it, how have we changed our diets, what should we be doing differently — but instead took conventional wisdom and repeated it over and over again," Couric said.

She reached out to director Stephanie Soechtig, and the project took off. Soechtig sent recorders off to several obese children and teens across the country and asked them to record their personal journeys. "The footage that we got back from these kids was so candid and so personal," she told us.

Using these real-life examples as the framework for the documentary, Fed Up [1] invites its viewers to take a brutally honest look at consumption in our country and the impact it's having on our kids. We can almost guarantee that it will change the way you think about food and approach feeding your family. Fed Up hits theaters on May 9. But before that, you can check out 10 of the most shocking facts that we learned from previewing the movie. Even if you consider yourself to be knowledgable about nutrition, you'll learn something new.

Source: Fed Up [2]; Front Page Image Source: Getty [3]

More Than Half of All School Districts Sell Fast Food to Kids

In 1981, as part of the National School Lunch Act, President Ronald Reagan cut $1.46 billion out of the child nutrition budget. As a result, the government turned to the food industry for a cheap, simple alternative to prepping their own food from scratch.

In 2006, 80 percent of all high schools operated under exclusive contracts with soda companies. By 2012, more than half of all US school districts served fast food, including sugar-sweetened soft drinks.

Our Kids Are Being Targeted — Constantly

Our kids see an average of 4,000 food-related ads each year, which amounts to about 10 per day.

The US Is Slacking

Other countries are doing more than we are about combating the food crisis. In Mexico, there's now a 5 percent tax on junk food; Britain has a ban on TV and radio ads for food that's high in fat, salt, and sugar to kids under 16; and in Sweden and Norway, there's a ban on all advertising targeted at children.

Obesity in Young Adults Is Limiting Their Options

Approximately 25 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds are too overweight to serve in the military.

Diabetes Is on the Rise (Big Time)

By 2050, one in every three Americans will have diabetes.

A Soda a Day . . .

Drinking just one soft drink per day can increase your child's risk for obesity by 60 percent.

Sugar Can Be Scarily Deceptive

If you're perusing your packaged food's nutritional content searching simply for "sugar," you could be missing out on one of the many, many ingredients that it goes incognito as. Agave nectar, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice, turbinado, maltose, sorghum syrup, and refiner's syrup are just a few spots where sugar could be hiding.

Take POPSUGAR Food's What Do You Know About Hidden Sugars? quiz [4] to see just how knowledgeable you are on the topic.

Sugar Is Addictive

Research shows that sugar is more addictive than alcohol, tobacco, and even cocaine. It alters the brain chemistry to produce cravings. Of the 600,000 items being sold in grocery stores in the US, a whopping 80 percent have added sugar.

The Scale Can Lie

Up to 40 percent of "healthy" weight people have the same metabolic dysfunction as those who are obese. Dr. Jimmie Bell coined the term "TOFI" (thin on the outside, fat on the inside) to define this group.

And Most Appalling of All . . .

Our generation's life expectancy is longer than that of our children.

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