What happens when HBO Documentary Films, the Institute of Medicine(IOM,) the CDC, the National Institutes of Health (NIH,) Kaiser Permanente and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation combine their weight for a powerful movement?  The Weight of the Nation – an HBO Documentary Films series and a national campaign to mobilize action to slow, arrest and eventually stop the epidemic that is the leading contributor to half of the top ten causes of death – obesity.

Last month I was privileged to attend a screening of “Challenges,” one of the films in a the three-part HBO family series The Weight of the Nation airing tonight and tomorrow, May 14th and 15th.  It was followed by a live streamed town hall meeting where I was able to participate in a discussion about the challenges people face when trying to eat healthy and improve their lives.

The first step in turning the tide of obesity is taking an unflinching look at the enormous cost of obesity – economic, physical and emotional.   Here are some (should-be) shocking statistics:

  • 69% of Americans are overweight or obese
  • Obesity-related health care costs $150 billion a year
  • Since 1980, obesity rates in children have more than tripled
  • Heart disease is the number one killer in America, and more than 1 in 3 U.S. adults has it (and it’s largely preventable!)

The films go well beyond statistics, exploring the impact on individuals, communities and the nation.    I  encourage you to watch The Weight of the Nation on HBO, or look for a screening in your area.  Then take action.  If you are concerned about this alarming epidemic, use the knowledge gained from viewing the films, discuss any needed changes as a family and get started on the road to healthier eating and living.

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