Does the PG-13 Rating Really Work?

Prior to the late ’60s, there was no movie ratings system in America. Films that adhered to the content restrictions of the time received an Approved seal and were sent out into the marketplace for anyone to view. However, changing times and the arrival of foreign films that more readily addressed adult themes demonstrated that it was time for a change. The ratings G, M, and X were introduced, which were soon modified to G, GP, R, and X (GP eventually became the more widely recognized PG).

These classifications were deemed sufficient until the summer movie season of 1984 when parental outcry arose over the level of violence in the PG-rated INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM and GREMLINS. Many felt that both films were R-level in content and not suitable for children to see unaccompanied. This resulted in the creation of PG-13, which fell between PG and R. Anyone could still see a PG-13 feature, but parents were warned that some material could be inappropriate for children under 13.

Nowadays, the majority of movies carry the PG-13 classification as it allows filmmakers to present a certain degree of violence, coarse language, and sexual content without limiting their possible audience. It makes commercial sense, but the PG-13 movies of 20-30 years ago bear little resemblance to ones bearing the rating now. Directors routinely take movies right up to the line without crossing over into R territory, which can mean the material is really top end PG-13 and would have received the more restrictive rating only a few years ago.

What can parents do? If you are concerned about the content of some PG-13 features, there are websites such as Kids-In-Mind that break down the levels of violence, language, and sex in each feature. It can be difficult to keep track of what your kids are seeing or hearing, particularly online, but it is worth exercising some degree of control until they are in their later teens and better able to process the often graphic content of films.

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is one of several recent movies that have pushed the PG-13 rating to its breaking point. Image courtesy Warner Brothers.

How To Prevent Weight Gain?

After 30, weight gain can be a big concern for many of us. Unlike when we were young you can’t eat anything you’d like without getting fat. We tend to try different exercises routine, drinking juices for detox,  diet pills, while restricting our caloric intake.

A new research by the universities of Exeter and Bristol has found that repeated dieting may lead to weight gain because the brain interprets the diets as short famines and urges the person to store more fat for future shortages.

woman dieting

This may explain why people who try low-calorie diets often overeat when not dieting and so don’t keep the weight off.

By contrast, people who don’t diet will learn that food supplies are reliable and they do not need to store so much fat.

The study, published in the journal Evolution, Medicine and Public Health, looked at how animals respond to the risk of food shortage by gaining weight, which is why garden birds are fatter in the winter when seeds and insects are hard to find.

Dr Andrew Higginson, Senior Lecturer in psychology at the University of Exeter, says: “Surprisingly, our model predicts that the average weight gain for dieters will actually be greater than those who never diet.

“This happens because non-dieters learn that the food supply is reliable so there is less need for the insurance of fat stores.”

With the rising rates of obesity, scientists are looking for evolutionary reasons to explain why many find it hard to resist overeating.

For centuries humans have lived in a world where food was sometimes plentiful and sometimes scarce.  What researchers found was that in the latter case those with more fat would be more likely to survive.

Today, people often go through severe diets  which only convinces the brain it must store ever more fat.

The researchers’ model predicts that the urge to eat increases hugely as a diet goes on, and this urge won’t diminish as weight is gained because the brain gets convinced that famines are likely.

“Our simple model shows that weight gain does not mean that people’s physiology is malfunctioning or that they are being overwhelmed by unnaturally sweet tastes,” says Professor John McNamara, of the University of Bristol’s School of Mathematics.

“The brain could be functioning perfectly, but uncertainty about the food supply triggers the evolved response to gain weight.”

So how should people try to lose weight?

“The best thing for weight loss is to take it steady. Our work suggests that eating only slightly less than you should, all the time, and doing physical exercise is much more likely to help you reach a healthy weight than going on low-calorie diets,” Dr Higginson says.