HBO's 'Weight of the Nation' tips scale on America's obesity epidemic

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It's not exactly a news flash, but it is critically important: Most Americans are fat.

That's the gist of HBO's four-part " The Weight of the Nation," airing Monday and Tuesday, May 14 and 15.

The nearly five-hour documentary makes excellent points, tracing when obesity became an epidemic and why. It explains how we can help ourselves.

The problem is it makes the same points repeatedly. That doesn't diminish its importance, but it can make viewers wonder why so many experts need to weigh in.

Weighing in, in all manners, is a huge part of this, which examines why two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. This shows that obesity is not geographical but rather a combination of genetics and environment.

The latter speaks to economics; of the 10 states with the highest obesity rates, nine rank among the nation's poorest.

People from all over the country are featured, including a group of heavy women in Louisiana eating deep-fried food and gooey desserts. In the Bronx, N.Y., estimates have 90 percent of people shopping for groceries at bodegas, where fresh produce is rare.

Public health officials work with parents and children because when obese children reach adulthood they are eight times more likely to develop high blood pressure than those at healthy weights.

People reveal how much they hate being fat, how they have no love life, can't find nice clothes and how even minor activities wipe them out. Do be aware that graphic footage from surgeries, including those with liver and heart disease, is shown.

As depressing as it is to listen to children who can't play because of their weight, there is much to be hopeful about.

The documentary stresses to start with small steps to change behavior, make reasonable goals, seek support, keep portions under control, keep track of caloric intake and increase moving.

It's wonderful to see co-workers help one another and take those small steps that lead to many miles and many pounds shed.
Photo/Video credit: HBO