Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  29 minutes
Date:  2013
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 7-12, College, Adults
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
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Fat or Skinny?

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The people of India are faced with a choice: indulge in a Western-style fast food diet, or embrace healthy and indigenous alternatives.

Fat or Skinny?

Everyday, as India awakes, 1.2 billion people need to be fed. By 2050 it could be 1.7 billion. Half a billion small scale farmers supply most of India's food. Traditionally, Indians have eaten the healthy cuisine of India's 29 states, but as people move to the cities there's a growing demand for fast processed food, the so-called 'junk food' accused of causing obesity and chronic health problems.

Now India is a country on the edge of two possible futures: a future that's well fed and healthy; or a future with Western diets and Western obesity. With so many hungry people to feed, is it possible to eat in ways that are nutritionally and environmentally sustainable? What role do governments have to play in creating economic incentives for sustainable diets?

'Fat or Skinny? takes a complex global issue and presents it in an engaging and accessible way. The interviews with teens and families in India about their own diets in addition to leading international expert talking heads add nuance to the discussion. Malnutrition, both under- and over-caloric in India, is a useful lens for studying the global challenge of improving health in tandem with increasing prosperity.' Dr. Jonathan Deutsch, Professor and Program Director, Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts, and Food Science, Drexel University, Co-author, They Eat That? A Cultural Encyclopedia of 'Weird' Foods from Around the World and Food Studies

'Very interesting. Fat or Skinny? emphasizes that obesity does not stand in opposition to malnutrition or undernourishment, but rather is tightly related to them. It tackles an extremely important issue while showing different perspectives and succeeds at presenting a very complex problem in a fascinating way.' Zofia Boni, PhD Student, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, SOAS Centre of Food Studies, University of London

'Very impressive. These films present current problems in global food production and consumption with unstinting clarity. They highlight figures who advocate for indigenous crops without simply turning back the clock or giving in to the Western model of industrial scale agriculture. They propose models which value the local economy and yet think progressively in ways that will help people deal with rising population and increasingly volatile market for foodstuffs. These are thinkers, activists, politicians and farmers who will shape the future of food around the world.' Ken Albala, Professor of History, University of the Pacific, Author, Beans: A History

'These films put food in a global perspective, pushing the boundaries of discussions about local, artisanal, and organic foods.' Fabio Parasecoli, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Food Studies, The New School, Author, Bite Me! Food in Popular Culture, co-Editor, Cultural History of Food

'Fat or Skinny? is a very accessible portrayal of an all-too-familiar problem. Western viewers may be effectively surprised to learn that 'poor' countries suffer from weight issues like 'rich' ones, and they will be forced to ponder the fact that people can be fat and malnourished as surely as they can be skinny and malnourished. Suitable for high school classes and college courses in cultural anthropology, development anthropology, medical anthropology, anthropology of food, and Indian/South Asian studies, as well as for general audiences.' Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database


Main credits

Richards, Jenny (Producer)
Kapoor, Amiba (Producer)
Pandey, Arjun (Director)
Bradshaw, Steve (Film editor)

Other credits

Music, Swaraansh Mishra, Leo Anthony; camera: Anil Kumar Tiwari (India) ... [et al.]; editor, Shailendra Singh Rawat.

Distributor credits


tv/e (Television Trust for the Environment)
Arjun Pandey
Camera: Anul Kumar Tiwari (India), Harmeet BasuAlekh Lalatendu (India), Fanscesco Manetti (Italy), Prospero Bozzo (Italy), Daniele Mattana (Italy), Cedric Pilaud (San Francisco)
Editor: Shailendra Singh Rawat
Senior Editor: Sotira Kyriacou
Producer: Ambica Kapoor
Music: Swaraansh Mishra, Leo Anthony
Concept Development: James Heer, Joanne Levitan
Series Researcher: Janet Weinstein
Production Managers: Caroline Hancock, Sheila Menon
Development Producer: Jenny Richards
Series Editor: Steve Bradshaw
A Twenty Four Frames Production

Docuseek2 subjects

Asian Studies

Distributor subjects

Developing World
Food And Nutrition
Global Issues
Local Economies
Sustainable Development
Urban Studies


India, fast food, healthy diet, indigenous foods, small scale farmers, junk food, obesity, diabetes, cuisine, Vandana Shiva, nutrition, sustainability, sustainable diet, local diet, Kanayo Nwanze, IFAD, Olivier de Schutter, UN Right to Food Rapporteur, Uday Foundation, Tulika Verma, malnutrition, Shirin Joshi, Anoop Misra, Raj Patel, KFC, Pizza Hut, Ishi Khosla, Andhra Pradesh, Navdanya,"Fat or Skinny?",Bullfrog Films

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