When I first started this blog, a coworker and friend suggested that I should watch and review the movie A Place at the Table. What a blog post dream come true! I get to watch a movie about food, write about it, and respond to a reader all at once. I loved it. And so, a few weeks ago, I settled in for a Netflix movie night.
I loved this movie. I think that the filmmakers did an excellent job of portraying the social factors that contribute to obesity that we sometimes can’t see from our layperson and/or health care professional perspective. The main premise of the movie is that if anyone wants to truly talk about how to solve the obesity crisis in America, what we really need to be looking at is social inequality and hunger. As crazy as it sounds to some, hunger and obesity go hand-in-hand more often than not. Because hunger is an extension of low socioeconomic status and people who don’t have enough money for food try to maximize their calories-per-dollar, they often end up buying the least healthful foods… and we all know the consequence of that.
The film follows a few different characters, each offering a different perspective on hunger and obesity. One woman received public nutrition assistance after losing her job. Once she became employed again, she was proud of her new position but made too much money to qualify for assistance, even though her salary was still very low and she was a single mom of 2 children. One issue that this raised for me was some kind of lag period between getting a job and being cut off from assistance. Just because you get a job doesn’t mean that you can save enough money overnight to be stable on your feet. It was hard for me to watch this determined woman be reduced to tears as she wonders out loud what she is going to feed her kids for dinner the next night. I can’t imagine the stress that she must live under every single day.
Overall, the thing that stuck with me most from this woman’s story and from the film was that in America, it’s okay to talk about obesity but not about social inequality. Until we can come to terms as a nation with many of the true contributors to obesity, we can’t do much toward solving it.
Have you seen A Place at the Table? What did you think?