Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Is Going To The Movies Hazardous For Your Health? by Tara Benner

A trip to the cinema to watch a mind blowing new release just isn’t the same without the large tub of popcorn and large soft drink. However, film executives and parents think movie theaters should go without heavily buttered popcorn, sugary pops, and candy.

Michael Lynton, a chairman for Sony Pictures Entertainment, recently had a talk with Hollywood representatives at ShoWest, a popular filmmaker’s festival, about the disgustingly unhealthy food that is served at the convention and normal cinemas across the globe. He rose the subject of how one out of every three children is obese and how their snack products are encouraging this behavior as well as diabetes, asthma, and future heart disease.

Lynton and many parents of children across the globe agree; they would like to see healthy alternatives, such as yogurt, fruit, and air-popped popcorn in their local theater’s concession stand. The change to these healthy alternatives has been a somewhat controversial subject among cinema owners. After all, a large sum of their profits comes from their theater’s concession stand. Lynton says that sometimes you just have to state the obvious and he is not backing down. “I'm not trying to dictate anyone's behavior. I'm simply saying that exhibitors should offer people a choice,” says Lynton.

The average large tub of movie theater popcorn contains 1,650 calories WITHOUT "butter." Each additional tablespoon of liquid butter adds 120 calorie each to the popcorn. The average human's diet should only consist of 2,000 calories a day on average. Now, ten pretzel twists contain 227 calories. So you could eat about seventy pretzel twists and still have consumed less calories than that of unbuttered movie theater popcorn.

Sony recently commissioned a poll in movie theaters across the country that supports Lynton’s case. 42% of parents said that they would buy concessions more often if there were healthier choices offered. 60% of parents interviewed stated that healthy snack alternatives would increase their overall movie going experience.

So far, most of the parents who have heard news of Lynton’s idea are ecstatic and wishing the program good luck. Lynton reflects, "I've been getting dozens and dozens of positive e-mails from parents and doctors, who are all eager to see the day come when they won't have to sneak healthy food into the theaters and be able to buy it at the concession counter.”

If healthier snack options, such as fruit, pretzels, air-popped popcorn, veggie sticks, and yogurt, were offered in movie theaters, would you buy them? Or would you stick to your normal buttered popcorn and Milk Duds combination? If you would like to share your opinions, please go to the HCHS News Blog at

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