When you want to Netflix binge, but also learn something…

I love reading, but after a long day of classes full of reading I sometimes feel exhausted. Or my eyes feel exhausted really. On nights like these I often watch a Netflix documentary…here are some of my favorites!

Miss Representation: A thought-provoking documentary that investigates how the media portrays women and how this portrayal leads to low self-esteem, mental illness, and body image distress. It includes interviews with a wide range of players in the media industry and promotes dialogue surrounding gender equality, body image, and wellness.

Food, Inc.: A dark look into our food industry that exposes the practices of the American food system. This is a great overview of the many problems that exist within our nation—from food security to food production. This documentary is a great catalyst for discussion of individual changes and population-level changes that could promote improvement to our health and our environment.

A Place at the Table: This documentary takes a fresh look at food insecurity in the US. During the holidays, there is an added awareness of hunger and increased donation to food pantries, but this film provides a greater education of how hunger impacts individuals across the nation year round and the implication it has on health and wellbeing.

Rich Hill: This film takes a glimpse into the lives of young teenagers in a poverty-stricken, rural town by the name of Rich Hill. Although it is hard to watch at times, it shows the resiliency of youth and families in the face of systemic poverty and lack of access to health care. Although it is a heavy film, it leaves hope and prompts conversation on the role policy change can improve the lives of individuals.

The House I Live In: This prize-winning Sundance documentary showcases the effects of current drug policy in America. The film takes a very raw look at the individual experience of substance abuse, selling drugs, and prison experience. The film analyzes a prejudiced system that perpetuates a cycle of sending African American men to prison and exposes the inherent discrimination across numerous levels of legal implementation.

That Sugar Film: A horrifying analysis of added sugar within even “healthy” diets. The documentary is similar to Super Size Me, and follows one man’s experience as he increases his sugar consumption. It is a shocking look at how sugar has infiltrated foods world-wide and the health implications of this shift. Available on Amazon Prime until January 29, 2016.

Ted Talks: If you only want to watch a few minutes of a show, then Ted Talks are the perfect option! Ranging from about ten to twenty-five minutes, there are hundreds of interesting options from Mark Bittman’s opinion on America’s food habits to Kelly McGonigal’s discussion of “How to Make Stress Your Friend.”

All of the above movies are available for instant streaming on Netflix. Happy watching!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally featured on the Center for the Study of Human Health blog.




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