Peter Jennings Reporting: How to Get Fat Without Really Trying

44mins2003DocumentaryNR
Obesity is fast on its way to becoming the nation's largest and most costly public health problem. While much of the public debate about obesity has focused on personal responsibility, PETER JENNINGS REPORTING: HOW TO GET FAT WITHOUT EVEN TRYING reveals how federal government agricultural policies and food industry practices are contributing to America's growing obesity epidemic.

In this program, Jennings demonstrates for the first time how more federal agricultural subsidies are going to foods Americans should be eating less, while few subsidies go to foods we should be eating more. Jennings investigates the type of food products the packaged food industry introduces each year and finds that the vast majority of new food products are those that dietary guidelines say Americans should be eating least.

Jennings also takes a bold look at the marketing of unhealthy food to children. Studies reveal that young children are not capable of understanding the intent of advertising and Jennings questions the ethics of such marketing, raising the question: should children be protected from junk food marketing -- despite the economic impact that might have on food companies and broadcast networks?

Within days of this documentary airing, schools across the country requested copies for use in their classrooms. Nutrition scholars are re-directing their research to examine the relationship of agricultural subsidies to the obesity epidemic. The Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission has indicated that food marketing is an area in which the agency will become more involved. And California legislators scheduled a screening of the program as they were considering restrictions on marketing of junk food to children.
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