To Your Health
December, 2020 (Vol. 14, Issue 12)
An Unhealthy Night at the Movies
By Editorial Staff
We all know movie theater food is severely lacking when it comes to health: buttered popcorn, candy, soft drinks and more, all generally provided in ridiculously sized containers. (After all, who doesn't want more of a bad thing?) But that's not what we're talking about this time.
Perhaps when it comes to laying blame for movie-watchers' nutritional woes, the movie theaters aren't the problem - the movie makers themselves are.
Here's why: An analysis of the top-grossing movies over the past 25 years (1994-2018), with specific focus on the food and beverages depicted in those movies, has found that "popular US movies depict an unhealthy diet; depicting unhealthy foods and beverages in media is a sociocultural problem that extends beyond advertisements."
Specifically, the study revealed that of 9,198 foods and 5,748 beverages featured in the top-grossing movies, snacks and sweets, and alcoholic beverages, were most commonly depicted. In many cases, food / beverage nutrition depicted in movies was bad even by U.S. standards; in other words, the characters in the movies ate worse than the movie-watchers themselves generally do.
So, let's recap. 1) The standard American diet is woefully lacking in nutrition to begin with, and woefully overindulgent when it comes to saturated fat, sugar and empty-calorie foods (sweet, refined-flour foods: chips, cookies, snacks, etc.). 2) Popular movies are only making the problem worse by depicting dietary choices that, by comparison, are as poor or even poorer than the average movie-goer's diet. 3) Substandard nutrition, perpetuated by movies, advertisements, etc., only sinks our society deeper into the throes of obesity and its consequences - type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and chronic disease.