The Student Body Film Review – Obesity will never look the same. The documentary takes on the heated topic of childhood obesity and the epidemic that it is, but even more so the efforts to solve this problem through mandatory weigh ins and letters to the children that have had a lot of unintended consequences.
The Student Body Film Review
The documentary takes on the heated topic of childhood obesity and the epidemic that it is, but even more so the efforts to solve this problem through mandatory weigh ins and letters to the children that have had a lot of unintended consequences. The movie follows Bailey Webber, a high school student and aspiring journalist that decides to take on the politicians of her state to show the effect this is having on her friends. The movie is playing in select theaters now, and will come to video early next year.
Run time 1 hour 25 minutes.
Politically-Charged Film on Childhood Obesity Premiered October 5, 2016 in New York City, NY
Acclaimed filmmakers Michael and Bailey Webber will be present for a special-event screening of their ground-breaking new documentary The Student Body. Winner of the 2016 Independent Spirit Award, The Student Body tackles the heated topic of childhood obesity and the efforts to solve this national epidemic.
Hosted by National Eating Disorders Association
Hosted by The National Eating Disorders Association, The Student Body will screen on October 5, 2016, at the Regal E-Walk Theatre off Broadway in New York, NY, where the award-winning father/daughter filmmaking team will participate in audience engagement while exploring issues of health, student activism, leadership, lawmaking, and other topics of importance to youth and adults around the country.
Inspiring story of Bailey Webber
The Student Body follows the inspiring story of Bailey Webber, a brave high school student turned journalist who seeks justice for her peers. In many states throughout the country, laws have been enacted requiring schools to send notification letters to students whose body mass index (BMI) do not fall within a narrowly acceptable range essentially telling children, even as young as kindergarteners, that they are fat. The documentary illustrates how youth can use their own passion and voice to engage lawmakers in order to advocate change. The Student Body will release in select theatres throughout the year.
In an effort to address the obesity problem among American youth, lawmakers in dozens of states have passed controversial mandates forcing schools to perform BMI tests on students. What soon followed sparked a heated national debate. Coined the ‘Fat Letters’ by students, notification letters were sent to kids whose body mass did not fall within a narrowly acceptable range; essentially telling children, even as young as kindergarteners, that they are fat. When a determined sixth grader in Ohio voices her protest against the letters, student journalist Bailey Webber is inspired to take up her fight. Convinced that her fellow students are being unfairly profiled and bullied by the government, Bailey’s investigation soon turns into a battle of wills between herself and the bureaucrats who passed the law. The Student Body is a true underdog story of two brave girls who take a stand against government intrusion and hypocrisy while exploring the complex and controversial truths of the childhood obesity debate.
About Bailey Webber
Bailey Webber is a student investigative journalist, writer and codirector of The Student Body. Her story of courage and activism has been featured in numerous newspaper and online articles. She has been honored by the National Association of University Women for her advocacy work, is an ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association as well as Proud to Be Me in which she has written several articles, blogs, and has participated in panel discussions. Bailey is also an up-and-coming public speaker and has appeared as a guest on several television and radio shows. Bailey is the daughter of Michael Webber, a motion picture producer and renowned documentary filmmaker. As such, she has grown up around movie making and has storytelling in her blood. The Student Body is her directorial debut.
About Michael Webber:
Michael Webber is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and producer/codirector of The Student Body. Webber has produced numerous theatrical films for studios such as 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate. Eventually applying his storytelling skills to nonfiction filmmaking, Webber would go on to produced/directed his passion project the hit documentary The Elephant in the Living Room. The film was praised by critics as one of the best films of the year, winning 5 Best Documentary awards and opening as the #1 independent film in the US. Michael has been guest on countless radio and television talk shows around the country, including appearances on The Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News and Nightline. He was also the subject of an ABC 20/20 special by Emmy Award Winning journalist Jay Schradler.
State Mandated BMI Test
Below is an image from the movies website. This girl is holding a sign that has F like when you fail a subject in school, however, this has Fast on it. Then it also has on the top saying State Mandated BMI Test by Order of the State Government. This order this student received goes on to say attention student based on the government mandated BMI testing you are hereby determined to be unacceptable.
Then, this image goes on to say …
It has come to the attention of the state government, that you are not within an acceptable BMI height/weight range. You are receiving this notice a a simple and ineffective way to address the obesity problem in the United States.
Although you are a growing child, and although simple BMI testing is not good indicator of an individual’s overall health, we the government are lazy, ignorant, insensitive and quick to overstep our proper bounds and flex our power.
A student goes and fights over a simple number … the BMI. The setting of this movie is in Springboro, OH at Springboro High School around the year of 2012. This is a documentary film and not a movie. I do believe this film is very moving and inspiring. With obesity on the rise, just think how this number can make kids feel. Senate Bill 210 in 2010. It talks about Healthy Choices. This documentary also goes over what BMI is. Interesting enough they didn’t give children choices of being weighed, but find out if any adults if had the choice to get their BMI, would they?
[pullquote]Obesity moves like a virus similar to influenza. [/pullquote]
This film does give a lot of facts and stories. Follow along as Bailey Webber goes to find the answers how this came to require BMI testing. She even follows along with school boards and the Ohio government too. Plus she found out other states followed along too. Find out if the BMI number is an indication of anything or not. In this documentary it said 19 other states are following on with the “fat letters”.
This epidemic doesn’t just effect the obese, but the under weight too. Not to mention, all children. If an adult has a choice, shouldn’t a child have a choice too? Yes, over weight and under weight is an issue. But, is the government going about it the correct way? Is there other way to go about this issue? What is interesting the children that Webber interviewed don’t look obese but according to their BMI they got the fat letter saying they are obese.
“Who gets to speak and who gets spoken for in our society is an issue of power … No body can give you your voice, you have to claim your voice … You have to speak, if they don’t hear you, speak again and again … Say it again and knock on another door.
– Sayantani Dasgupta, MD, MPH – Pediatrician / Professor of Pediatrics Columbia University
This film also goes to show that we don’t have free speech unless you are within certain areas. So what ever happened to … First Amendment – Religion and Expression. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Overall it was an interesting film, like most documentaries it can have some boring times in it, but this one did keep me into watching it. I would recommend everyone to watch this documentary.
This is due out this fall to theaters. For more info visit thestudentbodyfilm.com
I was given an online screener for this unbiased review.