HBO Documentary Series Tackles The United States Obesity Health Crisis

A report released Monday projects that U.S. obesity rates, now at 36 percent of the population, will rise to 42 percent within two decades, bringing with it a tab of more than a half-trillion dollars in health care and related costs. The projected rise would top off at three times the national obesity rate in 1980.

The greatest scientific and medical minds of our nation are fighting back, trying to stem the tide against obesity by identifying interventions and programs that are most likely to help obese people.

HBO Documentary Film: The Weight of The Nation

Starting May 14,15th and 16th, HBO is airing a four-part documentary series called The Weight of the Nation, part of a comprehensive public health campaign. The effort also includes a book published by St. Martin’s Press and regional screenings, and the free distribution of DVDs and comprehensive discussion guides to more than 40,000 community-based organizations working to fight obesity around the country.

The Weight of the Nation is one of the most far-reaching campaigns to date to tackle this issue. It is an unprecedented joint effort of HBO and the Institute of Medicine, in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente. There will be new research from these organizations about the risks, consequences, and solutions surrounding obesity, and more. It offers an unflinching look at the severity of the obesity crisis and exposes the driving forces behind it.

And for good reason:

  • More than two-thirds of adults age 20 and over in America are overweight or obese, and nearly one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.
  • Obesity-related health care costs nearly $150 billion annually. Someone who is obese costs an average of $1,400 more a year to care for.
  • Obesity contributes to 5 of the 10 leading causes of death in America, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancers, stroke, and kidney disease.
  • 94 percent of American schools fail to meet federal standards for fat and saturated fat in school lunches.
  • If current trends continue, this could become the first generation in U.S. history whose children have a shorter life span than their parents.
  • Only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools and 2% of high schools provide daily physical education.
  • 20% of cancer deaths in women and 14% of cancer deaths in men can be attributed to excess weight and obesity.
  • More than 66% of people with arthritis are overweight or obese.
  • Obese people are 83% more likely to develop kidney disease.
  • One in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes.

Here’s the program breakdown from the projects site:

  • Part 1: Consequences: (Premiering Monday, May 14, 2012) examines the scope of the obesity epidemic and explores the serious health consequences of being overweight or obese.
  • Part 2: Choices: (Premiering Monday, May 14, 2012) offers viewers the skinny on fat, revealing what science has shown about how to lose weight, maintain weight loss and prevent weight gain.
  • Part 3: Children in Crisis: (Premiering Tuesday, May 15, 2012) documents the damage obesity is doing to our nation’s children. Through individual stories, this film describes how the strong forces at work in our society are causing children to consume too many calories and expend too little energy; tackling subjects from school lunches to the decline of physical education, the demise of school recess and the marketing of unhealthy food to children.
  • Part 4: Challenges: (Premiering Tuesday, May 15, 2012) examines the major driving forces causing the obesity epidemic, including agriculture, economics, evolutionary biology, food marketing, racial and socioeconomic disparities, physical inactivity, American food culture, and the strong influence of the food and beverage industry.
  • The Weight of the Nation For Kids: The Great Cafeteria Takeover (First in a three-part series for families debuts May 16., 2012)

Viewing Options

More than 300,000 lives can be saved annually if people keep a healthy weight.

To reach the broadest possible audience, HBO will use all of its services, including the main HBO channel, multiplex channels, HBO On Demand, HBO GO and more. All films will be available in English and Spanish, and will also stream free of charge on, as well as on multiple platforms by participating TV service providers.

For those that don’t have HBO, Starting May 14, all four films will be available in their entirety for free for an unlimited time at the companion website (

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I have been an International Sports Science Association Certified Personal Trainer since 2009, a Certified Boxing Fitness Trainer and I love helping women over 40 stay fit and healthy or getting their health and fitness back after spending all their time taking care of others.

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