To Your Health
December, 2020 (Vol. 14, Issue 12)
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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.

movie - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark 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.