Details

Fed Up is a 2014 American documentary film directed, written and produced by Stephanie Soechtig.[1] The film focuses on the causes of obesity in the US, presenting evidence showing that the large quantities of sugar in processed foods are an overlooked root of the problem, and points to the monied lobbying power of “Big Sugar” in blocking attempts to enact policies to address the issue

Fed Up shows how the first dietary guidelines issued by the U.S. government 30 years ago overlooked the role of dietary sugar in increasing risks of obesity, diabetes, and associated ill-health outcomes, particularly in children. Since these guidelines effectively condoned unlimited addition of sugar to foods consumed by children, sugar consumption has greatly increased, obesity has skyrocketed, and generations of children have grown up far fatter than their parents. These children face impaired health and shorter lifespans as a result.[6][7] As the relationship between the high-sugar diet and poor health has emerged, entrenched sugar industry interests with almost unlimited financial lobbying resources have fended off attempts by parents, schools, states, and in Congress to provide a healthier diet for children. The film concludes with a list of 20 companies, industry groups and politicians who refused to talk to the filmmakers.[8]

Production, premiere and release[edit]

The director, Stephanie Soechtig, said that she followed some of the families struggling mightily with obesity, diabetes and other health issues for more than two years during the making of the film.[5] American journalist and TV personality Katie Couric co-produced the documentary and is its narrator.[9][10] The film premiered in competition category of U.S. Documentary Competition program at the 2014 Sundance Film Festivalon January 19, 2014.[11][12]

After its premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, RADiUS-TWC acquired distribution rights of the film.[13][14] The film was released on May 9, 2014 in the United States.[15][16]

Reception[edit]

Fed Up received a positive response from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 82% of 61 film critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7 out of 10.[17]

In her review for LA Weekly, Amy Nicholson praised the film by saying that “Fed Up is poised to be the Inconvenient Truth of the health movement. (Which makes sense – producer Laurie David worked on both.)”[18] Geoffrey Berkshire in his review for Variety said that “Stephanie Soechtig’s documentary effectively gets the message out about America’s addiction to unhealthy food.”[19] Robert Cameron Fowler from Indiewire in his review said that “‘Fed Up’ is a glossy package that gets its warnings across loud and clear: we need to change what we eat.”[20]

Justin Lowe of The Hollywood Reporter praises the film as highly relevant, though overly-detailed—the “Highly relevant film diminishes its central message with distracting details.”[21]

As Manohla Dargis succinctly summarizes in her New York Times review[2]

Recent research … indicates that calories in fruit are not the same as those in soda, a conclusion that is part of the big picture in “Fed Up,” a very good advocacy documentary … A whirlwind of talking heads, found footage, scary statistics and cartoonish graphics, the movie is a fast, coolly incensed investigation into why people are getting fatter. It also includes some touching video self-portraits by some young people who belong to the almost 17 percent of children and adolescents, 2 to 19, who are considered obese.