Food Network airing a documentary on the dangers of childhood obesity feels akin to Sci Fi Channel showcasing an inside look at the social lives of “Star Wars” geeks, but the subject matter is a serious one and deserves attention. Unfortunately, poor production values and scratch-the-surface info doesn’t really do the topic justice. Sure, it’s a start, but just barely.
Focus of the program sits squarely with Rocky Tayeh, an 18-year-old New York high school student who weighs in at a staggering 517 lbs. Growing up, he was the lovable chubby kid, but his weight quickly spiraled out of control, and now he feels lost.
During confessional moments on camera, he talks about his physical struggles and bouts with depression. He also hosts a radioshow and is seen interviewing his sister, who acts as a sounding board for others who don’t understand how he could’ve gotten so big — and why he can’t lose weight.
Situation comes off clumsily, though, like an amateur school production. Any good to come from the talk between siblings feels irrelevant.
Also featured are interviews with children such as Jeff Trimble, a 14-year-old who checks in at 180 lbs. and is showing signs of type 2 diabetes.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who was overweight before shedding 100 lbs., has been instrumental on the federal level about making sure kids eat properly. He’s shown for a minute or two here, but his expertise — both as a person who’s struggled with obesity and one who can make a difference legislatively — should have been fleshed out.
Doc is exec produced by “Today” weatherman Al Roker, who underwent gastric bypass surgery and obviously has a strong connection about the dangers of overeating and poor nutrition. His intent is well-meaning, but whether viewers can digest the message — between episodes of Bobby Flay firing up some BBQ and Paula Deen sharing the secrets of delicious southern fried chicken — remains to be seen.