CDC Study: Junk Food in Utah Schools a "Killer at Large"

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"Killer at Large" Obesity Documentary Filmmakers React to CDC School Junk Food Availability Study as their Research for the Film Reveals the Reality Behind These Statistics

…when you're talking about a lot of money, even in a small school like ours, the money trumps common sense.

The Centers for Disease Control recently released data about the availability of junk food in schools, ranking Utah as the largest offender in the nation when it comes to offering unhealthy food and beverages to school children. 83-percent offer the kids chocolate candy and 85-percent offer soda - compared the national median of 40-percent and 63-percent respectively.

The results of the study come as no surprise to the makers of the documentary "Killer at Large". "One thing we've learned in the last two years of filming our documentary is that efforts to get soda and junk food out of schools is an uphill battle," said Steven Greenstreet, director of the film. "We traveled across the country for stories about American obesity in our film, but one of the most shocking stories we found was right here in Utah."

The President of National Action Against Obesity, Meme Roth, explains in the film the importance of lowering these statistics in Utah and all schools across the nation. Very simply she said, "...daily exercise and healthful food directly impact academic performance."

The film, which focuses on the obesity epidemic as a whole, takes a quick stop in Utah to document the struggles of two Utah County high schoolteachers who found themselves in a heated contest with junk food peddlers, about the fate of junk food in their school. Teachers Scott Willis and Cougar Hall from East Shore High School noticed their students were getting more overweight, had a hard time concentrating, and were consuming junk food and hundreds of ounces of soda bought directly from the school.

Producer of the film, Bryan Young, explained, "They decided that it would be beneficial to get a coalition of students together and team teach a class with the focus of removing the junk food from their school."

In the film they talk about meetings with local junk food and soda vendors, who gave reason after reason why they couldn't remove their unhealthful food and drink from the school. Hall explained in the film what he considered the most bizarre reason for not removing the junk food options. A representative of Hansen Vending, in Provo, told him if junk food is removed from schools, kids would be more apt to getting their junk at gas stations and would get killed on the way. Hall explains in the film an experience with a student who showed up to class with two sodas and an armful of sugary candy. Noticing the student's fidgety behavior Hall said, "I had this 'Ah-Ha' moment that this student was so hyped up on sugar that there was no way she could concentrate on her work."

A year of struggling to remove the unhealthful vending machines, money won out over common sense. "Basically," commented Willis, "…when you're talking about a lot of money, even in a small school like ours, the money trumps common sense."

"Killer At Large" is set for release later this year after a tour of major film festivals. It features interviews and footage of notable experts and celebrities speaking on the topic of the American obesity epidemic including Former President Bill Clinton, Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona, Ralph Nader, Dr. Kelly Brownell, Dr. Marion Nestle, and bestselling authors Michael Pollan and Chef Ann Cooper, among many others.

For more information about "Killer At Large" or to watch the trailer please visit:

Greenstreet, Young, and Producer Elias Pate are available for interviews, media appearances, and other press related functions in relation to the Obesity epidemic and independent filmmaking.


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