Last week HBO debuted Weight of the Nation, a four-part miniseries examining the obesity epidemic in the United States . It’s likely difficult for you to find the time, or desire, to watch a four-hour documentary. Especially when you’re trying to Keep up with Kardashians.
Part 3: Children in Crisis
Part 3 covers the affect of the obesity crisis on children. Simply the saddest and most infuriating section of the program.
A scene in one profile of child struggling with obesity particularly struck me. This child’s parent was very concerned about her weight. Going so far as to have her enrolled in a wellness program at the local clinic. Clearly she understands the ramifcations on her child’s health.
Yet, when filmed at home the child was eating a bowl Co-Co Puffs and drinking V8 Splash. Both are loaded with sugar and directly causing her obesity. Through her misunderstanding of nutrition, the caring mother was undermining her very efforts to improve her child’s health.
Methinks this scene is repeated all across the country.
Part 4: Challenges
If you’re going to watch an hour of Weight of the Nation, make it this one. It begins by charting a history of human diet and agriculture to illustrate how the food enviornment we currently live in doesn’t jive with how were built.
An overview of the link between poverty and obesity drives the point home further before a lengthy discussion on industrial agriculture and the big business of food summarizes the challenges our society faces. Two quotes summarize the ladder portion perfectly:
On industrial agriculture:
We don’t even have enough fruits and vegetables being grown for every American to meet dietary recommendations.
On Big Food:
The kind of food we eat is the kind that is most profitable.
Lastly, in a decidedly positive turn, we are introduced to different companies, cities, communities, and citizens who are pushing efforts to combat the obesity epidemic. The documentary ends with a series of hopeful examples and statements for ultimate success combating obesity.
Overall, I’d recommend checking out Weight of the Nation. The first two parts made me feel this was the same old lecturing and doomsday predicitions that, while true, typically fall on deaf ears.
In the end though, I feel Weight of the Nation, while not perfect and not the seminal documentary the changes the way we look at the obesity epidemic, achieves its goal of starting discussion. After all, that’s what we’re doing now.