Lunch Hour: The Documentary

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By Jenny Pellicer

Grease dripping tater tots. A sweaty slab of mystery meat lying limp between tasteless white bread. Some sort of brown sauce whose smell can only be described by groans of disgust. This is the food most of our children receive at school. This is the food we are serving the future generations of The United States of America. This is also the food James Costa, Film Director, philanthropist and Chairman of the Hunts Point Alliance for Children, saw when he visited a school cafeteria. “I looked at the lunch lady and said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ and she answered, ‘no, and this is actually a good day’ “. This inspired Costa to make the documentary Lunch Hour whose main goal is to be a call to action to combat the obesity epidemic.

“Why would any American want another American to be sick? If we have a nation of sick people, how will we move forward?” asks Costa as we sat down to talk about his documentary and the unhealthy food addictions that exist in the United States. “Children have no choice. We are putting unhealthy food in front of them and telling them to eat. What kind of message does that give to our children?”

As Lunch Hour unfolds, the National School Lunch Program is examined and the obesity crisis and problem of unhealthy eating in the United States is discussed through interviews at various schools with children, principals, chefs and various experts in the field of child obesity and the trend of unhealthy eating in the United States. This documentary underlines that we cannot ignore the obesity crisis any longer. It has become common knowledge that one third of all children in the United States are either overweight or obese and how billions of dollars are spent each year to treat obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This information, however, can become so overwhelming that we become paralyzed as we ponder what on earth we can do to reverse this magnanimous problem. The solution, however, is by no means in-action.

Costa sheds light on the successful school lunch programs that have taken matters into their own hands and are now serving healthier school lunches. He manages to inspire rather than daunt and by doing so catalyzes a will to change and desire to be the change in the viewer…

The change to be made is in our hands. “It won’t happen overnight. We need to be patient and realize that if we change our eating habits the food companies will follow suit because they are in the business of selling food…” explains Costa. As Rachael Ray underlines in Lunch Hour – “This is it. This is that thing that everybody can agree upon. It’s about our kids, the health of this country. It’s the thing everybody can come together and actually do.”


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