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Laurie David Is 'Fed Up'

Left to right: The women behind "Fed Up" producer Eve Manson, director Stephanie Soechtig, producer Sarah Olson, Laurie David and Katie Couric at Sundance

Laurie David is worried about what most moms are worried about: food. Food and how it affects our children. With childhood obesity on the rise, she believes it's important for parents to be well-informed about what's going into their kids' bodies. In her new documentary "Fed Up," which arrives in theaters on May 9, the Oscar-winning producer ("An Inconvenient Truth") takes an investigative look at the food industry to find out what's going wrong.

The film follows four teens who are struggling with obesity and how that's negatively affecting their lives. It also traces how the amount of added sugar has increased in foods over the years, without much oversight.

David, who's also a mom to two daughters, spoke to mom.me about her biggest food concerns, her dinner advice for busy moms and what it was like to work with co-executive producer and journalist Katie Couric on the film.

Why did you want to make this movie?

I got fed up, and Katie Couric got fed up. The process started with Katie covering health and weight loss her entire career: Why is the problem getting worse and worse? She really wanted to delve into it, and she approached me. We found director Stephanie Soechtig, and the three of us together tried to unravel this.

I think that there was a statistic that really drove all of us: This is the first generation of kids that will live a shorter lifespan than their parents. This is unacceptable. It was a passion project with moms at the helm.

As a mother, what are you most concerned about with children's nutrition?

You know what’s hard for me is that parents think they’re doing the right thing — but the food is booby-trapped. These kids don’t understand why they’re not losing weight. So much is not their fault.

Conventional wisdom is all about willpower. We make the argument, “How can it be personal responsibility if the label lies to you? How is it personal responsibility if the salad dressing is laden with sugar?”

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What message do you hope parents will take away from this?

I think to me it’s: "How often do you have a problem with a solution that is tangible and doable?"

As a challenge, get off of sugar for 10 days and do it as a family activity. See how you feel. See how much sugar you eat in a day.

Next, cook real food. You have to cook real food. And put less pressure on ourselves about what a meal has to be. You can make scrambled eggs with broccoli for dinner.

Then, go to your school principal. Get together a group of moms and get the soda out of your school, get the candy out of your school. Bring back fresh food at your school.

What advice do you have for busy working moms trying to get dinner on the table?

Everybody is really busy. On the day you do have time, which is Sunday, make it home-cooked Sunday. This is the day that you prep the kitchen to have a successful plan for the week. You peel carrots and put them in a glass jar. Chop up cabbage, peel garlic — put them in a glass jar with a lid. Peel onions so you have them ready. This saves you so much time.

You can also pick up my book "The Family Cooks, 100+ Recipes to Get Your Family Craving Food That’s Simply Tasty and Incredibly Good for You" and plan meals out by, for example, boiling a dozen eggs and saving them for breakfast during the week. A little planning goes a really long way. Include everyone in it. Everyone should have to help.

MORE: 7 Ways to Get Kids to Eat Their Veggies

What was it like working with Katie Couric?

I can’t tell you how much fun it has been. I consider her a girlfriend. Her whole frame of reference is to ask why. Why is this happening? Why are kids getting sick?

Fed Up

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Rated: PG; 1 hr. 32 min.

Photo by Getty Images

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