Inspiring Change Through Film
“Congress says pizza is a vegetable,” is the tagline for ‘Fed Up,’ the nutrition documentary HealthCorps Coordinator Sinead Torres recently screened for Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School students, which incited students to challenge their eating habits and question their environments that may promote convenient, processed foods.
As part of the New York school’s Explore Week program, a special week in which students take a break from the regular academic curriculum to study a specific, non-core class topic in depth, Torres teamed up with a Kurt Hahn teacher to lead classes focused on sex education and nutrition.
Torres found the documentary, which examines the root causes of obesity in the United States by detailing the large amounts of sugar in processed foods that often go overlooked, so powerful, that she felt compelled to share it. The student response was positive. A planned 30-minute discussion that followed the screening turned into an hour, as students dove deeper to discuss the fast-food restaurants that surrounded the school, the processed food served during lunch, and the availability (or lack thereof) of healthy food options.
The socio-economic/food access challenges that Kurt Hahn students face aren’t unique, which is where HealthCorps Coordinators and programming aim to make an impact. By empowering students to take their nutrition, fitness and mental resilience health into their own hands, young adults are graduating high school with knowledge and skills to prioritize their health.
“Many of my students would walk into class with the same breakfast from the corner market – a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich – but after watching the film, it made them second-guess what they were eating, and how often they were eating it,” Torres said.
Toward the end of the discussion, the consensus among students was that the documentary hit a nerve and inspired them to change their food choices. From eating less sugar, to paying attention to nutrition labels and reading ingredient lists, bringing lunch to school or even something as small as eating one less bacon, egg and cheese sandwich from the corner store, students left knowing they could improve their health and spread the word.