In keeping with this month’s theme, I recommend three health-related documentaries that are great to watch with teens or pre-teens. Get out the popcorn and get ready to be entertained and informed.
In Supersize Me, a perfectly healthy guy decides to find out what would happen if he ate only McDonald’s for an entire month. I don’t want to give the story away, but let’s just say the results are … dramatic. This movie has two versions; the “educational” version was designed to be screened in classrooms while the other contains comments that are not appropriate for kids. Supersize Me is humorous, entertaining, and provides lots of food for thought on the fast food industry.
Forks over Knives extolls the benefits of a plant-based diet of whole foods – essentially a vegan diet. The film mentions an historic field study called “The China Study.” Over a period of 20 years, scientists studied the lifestyles and diets of thousands of people across China. They discovered that cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and many other chronic diseases were linked to consuming animal protein. The New York Times described the China Study as the “most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease.” The results were published in a book of the same name, which I highly recommend.
My third recommendation is Food Inc., which documents the food industry in the US and reveals how harmful mass production is not only to individual health, but to the health of our planet. This film is suitable for younger audiences; 8- to 10-year-olds should be able to understand and process the concepts presented.
I would suggest watching these movies on your own before introducing them to your kids. Every child is different and some are more impressionable than others. You know your child best, so wait until they’re a bit older to watch the films together if necessary. In the meantime, you can enjoy the documentaries yourself and learn something new about health.
The purpose of watching these films is to create awareness. It doesn’t mean that you or your kids will never eat McDonald’s again but the door will be open to have a discussion about balance, moderation, and healthy eating habits.
Got a question?
Melissa Rodriguez is a mom of two and a wellness consultant. She also works as a naturopath at International Medical Center. Check out her website at www.drmelissarodriguez.com
photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons User: Ericd
This article originally appeared on p24 of the beijingkids November 2013 issue.
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com