PATERSON, NJ - The American Black Film Festival’s 2012 best documentary winner “Soul Food Junkies” motivated the Passaic County Community College audience Tuesday night to rethink centuries of bad eating habits.

African Americans traditionally favor fried, fat saturated, high sodium and sugary foods, preferences that are medically linked to the escalating rate of diabetes, hypertension and heart attacks.

The documentary stems from a visit by filmmaker Byron Hurt’s to his hometown in southern Mississippi. Discovering that the food he loved as a child had not changed, Byron realized “Soul Food Junkies” have deep roots.

“In a nutshell, the film explores the history and social significance of soul food to black cultural identity and its effect on African American health—both good and bad,” said Michael Powell, executive director of the PCC’s Continuing Education and Workforce Development.

Panelist and audience members exchanged healthy food alternatives during the hour-long presentation. Community gardens was among several outreach incentives. Eight-year-old Maya Joyner suggested African American consider vegetable entrepreneurships.

“If you know better, you do better," said United Way Project Director Uucheoma Akobundu, as she distributed healthy snacks and nutrition literature.

St. Josephs Hospital, Passaic County United Way, Shop Rite Passaic and Little Falls partnered in the event.