- 69% of U.S. adults are obese or overweight
- 1/3 of the nations children are overweight or obese.
- At the current rate of increase, obesity-related health care cost are projected to exceed $300 billion by 2018
- Obesity contributes to five of the ten leading causes of death in America (Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Cancers, and High Blood pressure).
- One in four adults gets no physical activity at all.
- More than 25 million Americans have diabetes. Another 70 million are pre-diabetic.
The weight of our nation is out of control, can we fix it?
On Monday I was invited to the premiere screening of HBO documentary film series The Weight of the Nation. The film starts to address this very question. This four- part documentary series address the consequences, choice and challenges of the obesity epidemic, featuring interviews with leading experts, individuals and families all struggling with obesity.
“Children in Crisis”, the third film of the series is what I saw on Monday. This section documented the affects of school lunch, declines in physical education in the school system and the marketing of unhealthy foods to our children. I wish I could say it was eye opening for myself, but the story has not changed.
What was eye opening was to see the individual stories of children, and their parents who want so badly wanted to help their children. I think that is where there can be some misconceptions about the parents of these children. Parents no matter what their size, would never in a million years wish obesity or illness upon their children. They are doing the best they can, with what they have. HBO did a wonderful job of showing the real situation for what it is without using guilt or blame. The film goes on to a place where we start to understand this epidemic is not just from one cause, but rather guiding us to accept that we will need a multilevel solution in our schools, our homes and our communities if we want to see change. We need a national movement!
Granted I have not seen all four films yet so I may be quick to judge at this point, but my one criticism of the series is, the whole time I was watching, I was thinking “where are the solutions?” As a health care professional I could think of many solutions, and extrapolate many from the film. But what about the public, where are they suppose to start? How can they take action today? Not everyone is going to have access to grant funded, multidisciplinary wellness programs for their children.
But that maybe the point of the film? To challenge communities, health care systems, school systems, families and individuals to start to take action in their local communities and homes.
Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino seems to have gotten that message loud and clear when he launched Boston Moves For Health campaign. The goal of the campaign is for Boston to lose a collective 1 Million pounds and walk an impressive 10 Million miles! The Mayor attended The Weight of the Nation premiere and spoke about the importance of supporting community change. At the The Weight of the Nation premiere the Mayor had lap tops and his friendly staff available to sign up for the cities free wellness portal and to commit to Mayor’s Boston Moves For Health challenge. On this portal you are able to set personal health goals, map walks and runs, find new workouts, get nutrition tips, track your progress, and team up with friends to coordinate group activities and support each other along the way. This is just one example of communities taking action and implementing a multilevel solutions.
There are numerous way you can be involved in improving the health and weight of yourself, your family and your communities. Mass.gov has a web page dedicated to Making Changes in Your Community, giving advice and guidance on how you can advocate for healthy changes where you live. Also I have created a simple list of ways to implement changes for yourself, your family and community; To Win, We Have to Lose! Ways to Implement Change.
The weight of our nation is out of control, but YOU CAN FIX IT!! To win this battle we have to lose!
My challenge for this week is to schedule some time to catch the HBO The Weight of the Nation series. Start to looks for ways you can (big or small) make an impact on your health and weight. The change starts with you!
The Weight of the Nation series is primeres on HBO: Monday May 14th from 8:00-10:30 PM (Part I & II) and Tuesday May 15th 8:00-10:15 PM (Part III & IV)